The Mexican military has confiscated £14 million ($18m) worth of cocaine from on board a private jet, it has been revealed.
The country’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed during a daily press briefing that the plane had been taken down and forced to land close to the border with Belize after drugs were detected.
The airplane was forced to land at Chetumal International Airport in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, after an army helicopter fired a warning blast.
One of the two pilots was also arrested after having abandoned the jet, but their names were not released to the media.
Around one-and-a-half tonnes of cocaine were found on board.
The bust was made at around 2am local time on Tuesday (27 October) morning. The Mexican Air Force had detected a total of three planes, however, two of them were out of range to be taken down and disappeared into Belize air space.
The Mexican president said: “This was a job of the Army, of the Secretary of Defense. There was a pursuit of three planes that entered the national territory, through Quintana Roo.
“Two left and one landed at the Chetumal airport and investigations have already begun.”
In Belize, Commissioner Chester Williams said the authorities were tracking the planes’ paths for some time and understand the aim was to land somewhere in Central America.
He said: “Last night, we had three tracks that were coming our way and as we normally do we deployed our officers to the respective areas where they were able to anticipate where these planes may land.
“Around 2am this morning one of the planes flew over one of the areas that our officers were posted and they must have gotten wind of something and they just flew over.
“A couple of minutes later we were notified that it did land in Chetumal airport. It goes to show the effort of our police officers in Belize.
“Even though we are not as equipped as we would like to be, and not as equipped as our counterparts around us, we have been able through our efforts to prevent a number of these planes from landing. And you saw what happened – it went and landed on a licensed, major airstrip in Chetumal – as a matter of fact, it was Chetumal International Airport.”
He added: “So it goes to show the desperation of these drug traffickers and the extent to which they will go to transport their cargo.”
Commissioner Williams went on to praise the armed forces for managing to stop one of the planes and a large amount of drugs from entering the region, though reminded people that this is not a rare event.
He went on: “I want to say kudos to our security forces for a job well done.
“But this is a nightly occurrence, it is not only last night. Every night we have between two and three, sometimes four, tracks coming our way. So all of this is adding to the strain that our department is under because we had a number of areas that we would normally deploy officers to and it is a whole night occurrence.
“These planes would have landed in either Guatemala or Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras. These are the four main areas where they would go and land.”
Featured Image Credit: Mexican Air Force