14 Jan 2010

Trans-Atlantic Air Network Linking Terrorists

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A Gulfstream jet detained in Guinea Bissau, found in 2008 to be carrying 600 kilos of cocaine

Reuters is reporting that Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is operating an illicit air traffic operation crossing the Atlantic Ocean from West Africa to the Andes, using a fleet of twin-engine turboprops, executive jets and retired Boeing 727s, transporting arms and carrying drugs supplied by FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia — the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) for ultimate European distribution.

What is alarming international authorities is the recent addition of several Boeing 727 aircraft, significantly enhancing these outlaw organizations’ transport capabilities.

Alexandre Schmidt, regional representative for West and Central Africa for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, cautioned in Dakar this week that the aviation network has expanded in the past 12 months and now likely includes several Boeing 727 aircraft.

“When you have this high capacity for transporting drugs into West Africa, this means that you have the capacity to transport as well other goods, so it is definitely a threat to security anywhere in the world,” said Schmidt.

The “other goods” officials are most worried about are weapons that militant organizations can smuggle on the jet aircraft. A Boeing 727 can handle up to 10 tons of cargo. …

[Now] militant organizations — including groups like the FARC and al Qaeda — have the “power to move people and material and contraband anywhere around the world with a couple of fuel stops.”

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