News and opinions on the situation in Venezuela
‘Cocaine One’ DC-9 airliner switched crews somewhere after leaving Caracas?
Published: Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Bylined to: Daniel Hopsicker
MadCowMorningNews (Daniel Hopsicker): In the two weeks since an American DC9 airliner was busted by Mexican troops at a small airport in the Yucatan, carrying 5.5 tonnes of cocaine packed neatly into 128 identical black suitcases (somewhat hilariously marked ‘private’) the search for the true owners of the plane has produced these startling new developments…
The busted DC-9, dubbed “Cocaine One” in an earlier story, had an identical twin, a second airliner painted with the same distinctive blue-and-white-with-gold-trim of official US. aircraft, the MadCowMorningNews can reveal exclusively, and under the control of the same company. Or Company.
SkyWay Aircraft was the only tangible asset of SkyWay Communications Holding, a firm whose existence served as nothing more than a meager excuse to run a penny stock fraud scam, successfully relieving investors of over $40 million in only three years.
During 2003 and 2004, both DC9's controlled by the firm (N-numbers N900SA & N120NE) boasted an official-looking Seal beside the door bearing the familiar image of an American eagle clutching olive branches and arrows in its talons, around which were emblazoned the words “SKYWAY AIRCRAFT, PROTECTION OF AMERICA’S SKIES.”
A cover story should at least provide a little, you know … cover
The Seal and paint job made the planes look like they belong to Homeland Security, specifically the TSA (Transportation Security Administration.)
The tricked-out airliners were supposedly used to perform in-flight demonstrations of the spiffy new technology of SKYWAY AIRCRAFT and its corporate parent SKYWAY COMMUNICATIONS HOLDING CORP.
That could not, however, have been the true purpose of the planes.
SkyWay said it’s patented technology promised to protect airplanes from terrorism, and provide high-speed Internet at 30,000 feet. To the shock and anger of investors who lost $30-40 million, it did nothing of the kind.
Even a cursory inspection of the company and its principals quickly reveals that SkyWay had no products, no prospects, and nothing to demonstrate.
What they did have, though… were a couple of airliners masquerading as official US government planes.
Imagine the possibilities.
Vancouver stock scams make a sudden appearance in our tale
SkyWay Aircraft wasn’t in the business of in-flight entertainment or Homeland Security, we discovered. They were in the business of putting out press releases.
We wondered: were we being too harsh? Had the company’s management merely been over-enthusiastic, overly-optimistic, or mis-informed? Not a chance…
Glenn and Brent Kovar, a father-and-son pair of scamsters and penny stock fraud specialists, “ran” (we used the word advisedly) SkyWay. They had run the same scam several years earlier with similarly gratifying (for them) results.
The firm was called Satellite Access Systems, (SAS) which, as best we can figure, ended up being worth about three one-thousands of a penny per share.
But, as they say in TV-land: Here’s the beauty part … Chairman Glenn Kovar liked to boast about his long-standing ties to the CIA.
We took the Seal off. Forget about the Seal.
Frederic Geffon from Royal Sons LLC, the Florida air charter company which the FAA listed as the last registered American owner of “Cocaine One,” was happy to talk about Brent and Glenn Kovar’s most recent (last year) bankruptcy.
“Their company is a scam and he’s a scammer. I got sold a bill of goods about his stock. Everybody out here at the (Clearwater-St. Pete International) airport invested with him, and we all lost it all.”
In an exclusive interview, Geffon was quick to point out that the DC9 was no longer his concern when it left the general aviation terminal at Clearwater-St. Pete on April 5th heading for Caracas and its ignominious rendezvous with destiny.
‘N’ numbers are like car registrations, only not as precise
It ranks as one of the Top Ten Drug Seizures in World History.
But among the numerous mysteries surrounding the case is the question of why a story of a mountain of cocaine headed straight downhill towards the American market had been received by US officials and the major media with such stony silence.
US authorities have made no statements identifying the organization involved in the massive drug move. Nor have they addressed serious questions with obvious national security implications.
Why was an airliner allowed to impersonate an official Dept of Homeland Security aircraft? How did it then end up being owned by crooks boasting of American intelligence connections… and involved in drug smuggling?
Most importantly… On whose behalf did all that coke take wing?
Youth wants to know.
‘Cocaine One’ not a fit subject for polite company
A theory was being floated by Venezuelan officials this week that the airliner had switched crews somewhere after leaving Caracas but before being busted in Ciudad del Carmen in Mexico’s state of Campeche.
You could almost hear the sound of creaking leather on the shoes of officials back-pedaling away from the case as fast as their little feet could carry them.
How is it that the owner of an airliner carrying 5.5 tonnes of cocaine remains unidentified?
Nobody’s saying. Not the FAA. And not the former owner of the plane, who could tell… but refuses to divulge to whom it was sold.
According to FAA registration information available online at the time the story broke ‘Cocaine One’ was registered to Frederic Geffon’s Royal Sons LLC. That statement was rendered inoperative several days later when the FAA announced the DC9 had been retroactively “delisted and exported to Venezuela.”
All the way from Oklahoma City, you could hear the sound of little FAA feet, backpedaling furiously.
“The FAA been berry berry good to me”
An email from an FAA official did nothing to clear up the confusion. “Our records show Douglas DC9-15, serial number 45775, formerly N900SA, was cancelled 04/13/2006, for export to Venezuela. The aircraft was last registered in the name of Royal Sons Inc, 15875 Fairchild Dr, Clearwater FL. The file will not be available to be sent out until it is updated in approximately 2 weeks.”
Had someone been caught with their hand in a cookie jar which the FAA was helping them extricate?
Did the FAA’s refusal to release ownership records for at least several more weeks indicate that the question of who owned ‘Cocaine One’ is fated to never be answered? Would it end up being like other questions about equally inconvenient subjects, like, say, the one about who had walked off with the half-trillion dollars that “disappeared” during America’s S & L Scandal?
Out at the Clearwater-St. Pete International Airport, Royal Son’s owner Frederic Geffon could not agree more with the FAA’s recent statement. It cleared Royals Sons LLC from any responsibility for the plane hauling tons of cocaine across the Caribbean from Caracas to Mexico.
Like the song says: “It wasn’t me”
In an exclusive interview with the MadCowMorningNews, Geffon claimed he sold the DC9 weeks ago… “I had nothing at all to do with the plane by the time it was busted,” Geffon told us. “I sold it three weeks ago (in late March) to an aircraft broker, on behalf of someone in Venezuela.”
“The airplane was out of my name,” he continued. “I sent a blank form to the title company. Another airplane broker was also involved. It was delisted on the same day as the incident.”
On other questions, however, Geffon proved less helpful.
Asked the name of the Venezuelan buyer he sold the plane to, he responded, “I’m not at liberty to say. I’ve been asked not to say to whom the plane was sold.” Who asked him not to say? “I’ve been asked not to say who asked me not to say,” he said.
Place all of our folders in “suspense” too, please
Could he could tell us, then, who was piloting the plane when it flew out of Clearwater? “No, because I wasn’t looking out the window,” he replied. “I was focused on business.” Could the confusion be deliberate? An aviation executive in Venice thought so… “When it comes to registering airplanes, it’s the Wild West out there,” he explained. “An airplane is a mobile, big ticket item. Yet there are no airport police doing ramp checks, or checking N numbers at airports.”
“The FAA system for registering airplanes is little-changed from when it was started back in the good ol’ boy days of the 1930s. Each plane has a paper folder, for example, stuffed with all correspondence regarding airworthiness and ownership relating to that plane.”
“That’s a tremendous inducement to anyone with a chance of having a plane nabbed to keep floating sales in progress. The CIA, for example, is very adept at keeping files on its planes “in suspense.”
Did somebody say … CIA?
An airliner mistaken for one belonging to the US government, said our aviation source in Venice with a smirk, would have definitely advantages for a drug smuggler. But wait. There’s more…
“One of us cannot be wrong”
“Glenn Kovar told everybody he was with the CIA,” Frederic Geffon said. “A lot of people at the airport believed him, and became investors in his scam.”
The question of whether there might be a Central Intelligence Agency connection to a plane loaded with 5.5 tonnes of cocaine is, to some (you know who you are) like asking if the Pope might be Catholic.
One of two things must be true: We are looking at a pattern of systematic ambiguity meant to protect the privacy of the rich and famous. To keep their options open… A pattern which plays right into the hands of the unscrupulous, namely drug dealers, and/or, worse yet, terrorists.
Or… we’re fantasizing, and what the FAA is saying is true… is true, and ‘Cocaine One’ has passed through several owners since it was owned by the scamsters at SkyWay Aircraft, in which case nothing about SkyWay is germane to a story about 128 suitcases filled with cocaine baking in the heat on a runway in the Yucatan.
Still here? Okay, we’ll continue … but, fair warning:
What first taught us to take the word of the federal agency which regulates aviation with at least a few pinches of salt were the numerous occasions during the research for Welcome to TERRORLAND where we learned of big-time corruption inside the FAA.
The FAA went out of its way to protect terror flight school honcho Rudi Dekkers, for example. An aviation mechanic who worked for Dekkers said he’d been forced by law to report criminal acts which he witnessed Dekkers commit.
“Dekkers did an import of an airplane,” the mechanic explained. “We found dents on the front of a wing and replaced sheet metal, and then we found ribs that were crushed, which renders an airplane un-airworthy. Yet Dekkers still sold the plane!”
“And when I turned him in to the FAA, they didn’t do a damn thing.”
A second brief example should suffice. It also involved Rudi Dekkers. He had forged another aviation executive’s signature on a repair order to indicate required repair work on a helicopter had been completed. When that executive discovered it, he told us, he too was legally compelled to report it to the FAA.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said indignantly. “I called the FAA to report a violation and was warned to leave Dekkers alone. An FAA guy came out and sat me down and said: ‘I suggest you back out of this.’”
Of course, as we reported earlier, Frederic Geffon’s Royal Sons was listed with an address which traced to Huffman Aviation’s hanger at the Venice Airport. Geffon, however, denies any responsibility for the listing.
Deconstructing the official story
To recap… The official explanation so far appears to be as follows:
“A shadowy and still-unnamed-but-obviously-very-unlucky Venezuelan company bought a DC9 airliner that used to use camouflage to appear to be a US government plane, and then got caught with 5 tonnes of cocaine.”
Those crazy Venezuelans! Muy stupido, no?
On the off chance that things are not what they seem we had decided to take a look at who had owned the plane before its epic flight…
The two DC-9s were purchased several years ago by a still-unexplained partnership between Frederic Geffon’s Royal Sons LLC and SkyWay Aircraft, the only subsidiary of SkyWay Communications Holdings Corp.
Given the level of intrigue surrounding the case, the revelation that we are no longer talking about the ownership of just one airliner tricked out to resemble a government plane, but two, comes as something less than a shock.
Why do we believe that the sordid tale of Skyway Aircraft will be shown to have relevance to that of the DC9 with enough cocaine to cut a line all the way to heaven? The answer is simple: SkyWay was responsible for painting two DC9's to look like they belong to the US Dept of Homeland Security.
This does not appear to us to be an innocent act.
Moreover, the planes were parked at the general aviation terminal at the Clearwater St. Petersburg Airport, just a few hundred yards away from a major US Coast Guard facility housed at the airport.
Yet — despite America’s hyper-security conscious post-9/11 aviation environment — two airliners conspicuously painted to resemble government planes sat beside a facility of a branch of the US military … and aroused no suspicion…
How strange is that? We wanted to ask the Coast Guard that question. And other ones too: Have they ever heard of elite deviance, or deep politics, or state-sponsored crime?
Alas, although we remain hopeful, our calls for comment to the Coast Guard Station at the Clearwater-St Petersburg Airport have not yet been returned.
Perhaps someone else might have better luck.
Mystery of 5.5 tonne cole flight deepens