Yesterday afternoon, a twin-propeller aircraft with the registration YV1104 crashed near the Oscar Machado Zuloaga airport in Charallave, just south of Caracas, killing all nine individuals aboard. The airplane was scheduled to land at the airport between 4:30 and 5:00 PM.
The airplane flew out of the Guasipati airport in Bolivar state earlier in the afternoon.
Public interest in the crash grew as media outlets published the names of the deceased, among them high-profile individuals, some of whom have been linked to corruption scandals involving the Maduro regime.
According to Infobae, one of the people aboard the airplane was Alejandro Enrique Suegart Bonnet, who was accused earlier this year of corruption through his involvement with the CLAP, the regime’s subsidized food program. Suegart was also accused of corruption through his acquisition of foreign currency. Another one of the airplane’s passengers was Mariano Diaz, who was accused in 2015 of drug trafficking and money laundering. The case never proceeded to the courts.
Infobae reports that Diaz was joined in his trip to Bolivar state by Humberto Vivanco, and that the two men had traveled to the area on a business trip to explore gold mines in the area.
De Grazia: Aircraft Was Carrying Gold
National Assembly deputy Americo de Grazia said that YV1104 was carrying gold when it crashed, although he provided no evidence for his claim.
Citing “sources” in his home state of Bolivar, de Grazia said that the aircraft regularly flew to the region to extract gold in shipments of “between 10 and 70 kilograms”. He also said that the passengers aboard the plane when it crashed were “connected to the government of Nicolas Maduro”, but did not elaborate.
De Grazia also suggested that the practice of flying illegally-mined gold out of Bolivar state on privately-registered aircraft is common:
What we want to do is unmask them and show people what their modus operandi is. That’s how they transport the gold. That’s how they fly it out, how they get it out of there, how they move it as contraband. It is, unfortunately, a criminal network.
Bolivar state is plagued by illegal gold mining, some of which is facilitated by regime forces.
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