Photo: Learjet 25
A private jet that took off from Brazil and entered Venezuelan airspace with its transponder deactivated was intercepted by the Andean nation’s air force, the Brazilian military said Friday.
The plane, a Learjet 25, left Brazil on Thursday without an approved flight plan, the Brazilian air force said in a statement.
At some point between takeoff and entering Venezuela’s airspace, the jet’s transponder was deactivated in violation of international aviation rules, according to the statement.
The Venezuelan armed forces forced the Learjet to land on suspicion the aircraft was being used for “illicit activities,” Brazil’s air force said.
Brazilian authorities are investigating the occupants of the plane, the statement said.
Caracas has a policy of intercepting aircraft suspected of carrying illegal drugs. While not a drug-producing nation, Venezuela is a conduit for cocaine from neighboring Colombia.