Dominican Republic releases detained Canadian crew members

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A Canadian charter crew detained in the Dominican Republic on drug-related charges has been released on bail.

According to various sources, a judge ordered their release on payment of bail of one million Dominican pesos ($18,100) each. A condition of their release is that the five Pivot Airlines Bombardier CRJ-100ER crew members remain in the Dominican Republic until the case is resolved.

The judge also released the six passengers on similar bail conditions. Four of the passengers are Canadian, one is an Indian national and the other is a Dominican.

SIMPLEFLYING VIDEO OF THE DAY

The CRJ-100ER is still sitting on the ground in Punta Cana

The aircraft, registration C-FWRR, arrived at Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) on March 31. He had left Toronto Pearson International Airport at 2:09 p.m. for the 4:30 a.m. flight to the Dominican Republic.

The Pivot Airlines CRJ-100ER is still grounded at Punta Cana airport in the Dominican Republic after drugs were found on the plane. Data: Flightradar24.com

As the aircraft prepared for the return leg a few days later, a crew member discovered an unidentified black bag in the aircraft’s avionics bay.

After making the discovery, the crew reported it to local authorities and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Further inspection by authorities revealed that it contained over 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of cocaine, with an estimated street value of around $25 million.

That’s when things took a turn for the worse for the crew, who quickly went from being heroes to zero in a matter of hours.

In a statement, Pivot Airlines, a Canadian charter company, said its crew members had been threatened while in detention. A Pivot spokesperson said:

“The continuing lawsuits and credible threats to the lives of our crew in the Dominican Republic raise serious concerns for anyone traveling to the country, including those planning a vacation in the Dominican Republic. We believe this incident should encourage all travelers to consider alternative travel plans.”

Whistleblowers have no protection here

Their plane is at the airport and the crew is on bail but likely not visiting the Punta Cana airport pool. Photo: Punta Cana International Airport

Pivot says a maintenance technician who was traveling with the two pilots and two flight attendants discovered a black bag inside the avionics bay. On the CRJ-100ER, the avionics bay is a crawl space under the cockpit that contains computer equipment and cabling. It is not generally accessible to flight crews, although ground crew are more likely to access it.

Pivot insisted his crew prevented the importation of more than 200 kg of cocaine into Canada. However, soon after, they found themselves in separate detention centers, sharing common cells with accused drug traffickers.

As a lengthy investigation looms, Pivot said:

“It is unacceptable that a Canadian crew could remain in detention for the duration of a potential twelve-month investigation for an alleged crime they reported. We are deeply concerned about the safety, security and ethical and humane treatment of our crew.”

An April 6 statement from the Dominican Republic’s National Drug Control Directorate (DNCD) indicates that the DNCD seized the drugs with the support of the Specialized Airport Security Corps, state intelligence agencies and the Ministry audience.

This proclamation of a major multi-agency intelligence coup makes no mention that the discovery was due to an alert Pivot Airline maintenance technician, who was arrested for his efforts.

There is obviously no place for whistleblower protection in the Dominican Republic.

Source: World News

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