Cocaine find on Martinair freighter in Argentina leads to multiple arrests

KLM 747 freighter being loaded

KLM says it is cooperating with Argentine authorities after media reports that more than 80 kilos of cocaine was discovered last week on a Martinair Cargo-operated Boeing 747 freighter at Ezeiza International Airport near Buenos Aires.

Martinair is a subsidiary of KLM.

As many as seven people, including three Dutch crewmembers, have been arrested in connection with the incident, according to reports in Dutch and Argentine media.

“We can confirm Argentinean authorities are investigating a freighter operation conducted by Martinair Cargo,” a KLM spokesperson told FreightWaves. “KLM and Martinair Cargo will fully cooperate with the investigation. As long as the matter is under investigation we cannot respond to questions.”

Martinair Cargo operates scheduled freighter service to South America and Africa with a fleet of four 747-400s, which includes three extended range freighters and one Boeing converted freighter.

The 747 had arrived in Argentina from Sao Paulo and was scheduled to stop in Ecuador and Miami on its way back to Amsterdam. The discovery was made shortly before the aircraft was slated to leave Buenos Aires, according to media reports.

Separately, a drug-sniffing dog found nearly 7 pounds of marijuana in four mail parcels at an air cargo warehouse near Washington Dulles Airport, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The four packages were shipped from addresses in California and were headed to different addresses in the Netherlands.