Pubdate: Tue, 19 Apr 2005
Source: Miami Herald (FL)
Copyright: 2005 The Miami Herald
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)


RIO DE JANEIRO - (AP) -- Federal police opened fire on a twin-engine plane 
suspected of carrying drugs as it attempted to take off from an airfield in 
southern Brazil, killing the pilot, officials said Monday.

Police first tried to seize the aircraft, but the pilot tried to take off 
anyway, endangering the lives of officers in another airplane, authorities 
said. Police fired at the plane, killing the 65-year-old pilot. A 
50-year-old man who was aboard the plane was arrested.

The plane was detected in Paraguay picking up about half a ton of 
marijuana, which it dropped over Uruguay before landing in Livramento, some 
690 miles southwest of Rio de Janeiro, authorities said.

Police said they found remnants of a marijuana shipment aboard the plane 
and a .38 pistol with its registry number filed off.

Police said they opened fire on the plane because the pilot was trying to 
escape, so the shooting was not covered by Brazil's controversial 
"shoot-down" law.

That legislation allows the Brazilian air force to down unidentified planes 
that enter national airspace without a flight plan from regions "known to 
produce or distribute illegal drugs." So far, no airplanes have been downed 
under the law.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom