19 soldiers implicated in plane theft in Honduras

November 7th, 2010 - 4:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Tegucigalpa, Nov 7 (IANS/EFE) At least 19 soldiers were implicated in the theft of a plane from a Honduran air base last week, officials said.

The aircraft had been seized from drug traffickers two years back.

The people who participated “directly or indirectly” in the theft of the aircraft from the Armando Escalon Air Base in the northern city of San Pedro Sula will be brought to justice, Honduran Defence Minister Marlon Pascua said Saturday.

Pascua said he and armed forces commander General Carlos Cuellar presented President Porfirio Lobo “a detailed report on the disappearance of the aircraft”.

The twin-engine plane, which was in the custody of the air force, is one of many that Honduran authorities have seized from drug traffickers in recent years.

It was stolen Oct 31 by at least five armed men who entered through the back entrance of the base, located at the Ramon Villeda Morales International Airport.

The assailants overpowered the guards, boarded the aircraft and flew away, according to the defence and security ministries. They said the plane had fuel for half hour’s flight.

According to local media, drug traffickers may have paid some $400,000 for last Sunday’s operation.

The accused will be tried before either a civilian or military court, Cuellar said.

–IANS/EFE
hv/dg

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