Colombian Aviation Regulator Launches Investigation into Interjet for “Cambiazo” of Drug-Filled Suitcase
Colombia’s aviation regulator is investigating Mexico City-based airline Interjet after a suitcase allegedly containing cocaine and transported by one of its aircraft was discovered at Bogotá’s El Dorado International Airport.
While authorities catching drug mules at the airport is not uncommon, this specific incident has become a large news story in the country due to the strange nature of the the so-called “cambiazo” change out of the suitcase that the passenger says did not belong to him.
The incident was brought to light in late February by Ramiro Bejarano Guzman, a columnist for Bogotá-based newspaper El Espectador, when he wrote about how someone he knew had been accused of being a drug mule after luggage — which was registered in his name but reportedly did not contain his other belongings — was found with cocaine inside.
The investigation being carried out by Colombia’s Special Administrative Unit of Civil Aeronautics (Aerocivil) is aiming to discover how the contraband arrived in the suitcase. The agency said it will look to determine if those at Interjet or other parties involved in the possible violation — whether in the protection, custody, and transportation of the luggage at the airport — have some responsibility.
On top of trying to identify the culprit, if Aerocivil finds that Interjet was not compliant with Colombian rules at any stage of the process, it will impose a fine of 110 million pesos (about $37,000), the equivalent of 150 times the nation’s monthly minimum wage.