Mechanic works on seized narco plane at the Pavas airport. La avioneta bimotor fue decomisada hace seis meses. Ayer era revisada por Édgar Sibaja, en la zona de taller del aeropuerto de Pavas. | Photo: PABLO MONTIEL / La Nacion
Mechanic works on seized narco plane  in a hangar at the Pavas airport. | Photo: PABLO MONTIEL / La Nacion

It was the dawn of December 16, 2013, when two Guatemalan pilots came to Costa Rica and left behind the small aircraft that could become the country’s “presidential” plane or at least used by President Luis Guillermo Solís for his travels abroad.

The twin-engine Beechcraft King Air is currently in a hangar at the Pavas airport. It arrived in Costa Rica loaded with a ton of cocaine, from Colombia to Limón, where it was intercepted by Costa Rica authorities.

But, before the plane can be used by the President or be in service in any official capacity, there is a lot of red tape to be taken care of, like the trial of the two pilots (father and son) who were arrested after they made an emergency landing in Valle La Estrlla de Limón on that December morning.

Then there is the legal process of the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública (MSP) obtaining legal title. And then there are the repairs.

Despite the bureaucratic and legal proceedings pending, the MSP is confident that the plane, valued at US$1 million dollars, will be part of their assets in a short time. In fact, the MSP has already painted the plane with the flag of Costa Rica and the tail call letters MSP020. (See photo.)

According to the MSP it will not be called “nave uno” (air one) and will not be for the exclusive use of Luis Guillermo Solís, but can be used by the President when commercial flights won’t do for travel within the region.

Oldemar Madrigal, director de Vigilancia Aérea (air monitoring) for the MSP, said the aircraft, a King Air from Beechcraft, can accommodate a crew of two and six passengers, fly at 450 km/h and given it has a pressurized cabin it can fly at higher altitudes, shaving off travel time from non-pressurized cabin airplanes.

The director added that the aircraft is capable of reaching the U.S. territory or monitor Costa Rican waters.

If Solís, who has said he prefers commercial flights, comes to use the airplane it will not be the first time a Costa Rican president will be flying in a “narco” plane.

If you will recall the scandal surrounding the flight by former president Laura Chinchilla riding in a private plane owned by an “alleged” narco.

Even Oscar Arias, in the eighties, during his first presidency, used one of them to travel abroad.

Source: La Nacion