On 4 August, Brazilian police discovered 1.3 tonnes of cocaine on board a Gulfstream IV private jet (registration TC-GVA) belonging to the Turkish company ACM Holding, which was rented by a Spanish national. The aircraft was departing from Fortaleza to Brussels Airport.
The aircraft flew from Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) to Malaga (Spain) on Monday 2 August, and in the same evening to Pinto Martins – Fortaleza International airport in Brazil. The Turkish jet was a former plane belonging to the Turkish Prime Ministry under the TC-ATA registration.
Brazilian police had been tipped off that the plane would have cocaine on board when it would leave Fortaleza. Officers at Fortaleza Airport asked the lone passenger to open his suitcase. It was full of cocaine. And it turned out that there were even more suitcases with white powder on board.
Türk iş jetinde onlarca valiz dolusu kokain yakalandı. Brezilya Fortaleza Havalimanı’ndan Belçika’ya uçacak olan yolcunun olduğu iddia edilen kokainlere el konuldu. Yolcu ve pilotlar gözaltına alındı pic.twitter.com/NymFfU0XaJ
— Ali KIDIK (@alikdk) August 4, 2021
24 suitcases were found to contain 50 packages of cocaine each, a total of 1.3 tonnes of cocaine. The street value of the drugs is about 65 million euros. The police operation was filmed.
Brezilya’nın Fortaleza hava alanında TC-GVA kanat numaralı Türk jetinde yakalanan uyuşturucuya dair baskın görüntüleri pic.twitter.com/vLLbffDEzT
— AKP Çocukları (@AkpCocuklari) August 4, 2021
According to Belgian newspapers De Tijd and L’Echo, the Brazilian police confirmed that the private jet had Brussels as its destination. Brazilian media write that a stopover was also planned in Lisbon, in Portugal.
De Tijd/L’Echo learned that the Spanish passenger has a passport that was issued in Belgium. The man would come from the province of Liège.
According to the Brazilian newspaper Globo, evidence has shown that the Turkish pilot of the plane was also aware of the drug transport. He too has been arrested.
The ACM Holding, the owner of the aircraft, released a written statement with regards to the cocaine bust, saying its plane had been rented by a passenger who has a Spanish passport. “The relevant customer and his personal items have no connection whatsoever to our company or flight crew, and the inspection of the passenger’s belongings are completely under the authority of the airport,” the company said.