Shelli DeRobertis 5:08 p.m., June 19
Mexico's federal attorney general investigates its own air fleet for drug trafficking
[Translated and summarized by Fulano from an article in La Jornada]
The discovery of serious irregularities in the operation of the air fleet belonging to the Mexican federal Attorney General's Office, including suspicion that some airplanes have been used to transport drugs, has led to one of the largest investigations ever in the agency.
The anomalies range from missing flight operation manuals to the theft and trafficking of parts; fake repairs and "lost" flight and maintenance logs; insurance for helicopters and flights in unairworthy aircraft.
According to reports from the Attorney General's office, an investigation has been opened which involves 12 administrators who have worked since 2006 at the General Air Services Department of the Attorney General.
The Attorney General of Mexico, Marisela Morales Ibáñez, discovered that in the operating budget for the Attorney General's office, the General Air Services Department paid businesses that boxed parts the public servants had stolen and then sent to buyers.
Morales Ibáñez also ordered the suspension of all air fleet operations, a recall of personnel and an immediate review of all the equipment, as an audit that is currently in progress determined that of the fleet of 80 aircraft, only five are considered airworthy.
An intensification of the audits revealed that at least 20 out of the 80 aircraft in the fleet needed to be discarded, as they were in such "deplorable condition" that any attempt to make them airworthy was not worth the cost.
At the main repair bases in Guadalajara and Mexico City, auditors found 600 air parts were missing and the existence of thousands of useless air parts because they were for aircraft the Attorney General did not have.