Nearly three years ago, a bright-eyed dog was curiously sniffing her way through a routine examination of a small Westwind business jet that had landed early that evening for a quick refuelling stop at Luiz Munoz Marin International Airport in Puerto Rico. Built by Israeli Aircraft Industries, the sleek multi-engine plane usually configured for up to 10 passengers carried just the co-pilot owner, his elderly father and the pilot on another of their frequent flights to the latter pair’s birthplace of Guyana.
K9 Malon/CG93 subtly alerted her handler to something amiss, but due to the amount of cargo inside the aircraft, the American Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer could not immediately ascertain the source. Since the team found some maintenance “discrepancies” during the outbound inspection, the jet was ordered detained for the mechanical issues to be fixed overnight and checked again next morning.
Registered with the United States (US) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as N822QL by the Executive Jet Sales Company of Ringwood, Passaic, New Jersey, the plane would yield unexpected riches greater than the US$7 000 officially declared by the firm’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) co-pilot, Khamraj Lall, his father’s US$5 000 or the pilot’s paltry US$60…..