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Flight school victimized by renter's smuggling arrest

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A southern California flight school owner faces the loss of his two-year-old business, along with the Cessna 172 he rented to a well-known customer. The Jan. 20 seizure of N5283E and arrest of Lino Rodriguez-Chavez by border patrol agents marked the fourth arrest and seizure of a light aircraft involved in the smuggling of people, rather than drugs, since 2010. ( עוד...

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boknowsau1 11
Give the man back his plane and hang the guilty parties.
John Shanahan 3
Couldn't put it any better. Well Said.
Andrew Skretvedt 3
Civil forfeiture laws's the new way to tax.
Gene Nowak 3
This has been going on for nearly 40 years. I remember scheduling a Cherokee Arrow in the 1970s with long range tanks when the FBO told me, only if he get it back from the Feds. Seems he rented it to someone who flew down to Mexico and got caught at Customs in New Orleans coming back with 400 pounds of marijuana. Luckily he got the plane back and I completed my trip. However, I don't know all the circumstances of what Bill had to do for the plane's return.

A piece of humor to this story. When I picked up the aircraft at night, the FBO was already closed and the keys at the FSS. The aircraft had not been refueled. Having flown it many times before I calculated there was sufficient fuel for Ft. Lauderdale with 45 minutes reserve. My route included deviation to ORL, TPA, FTP and PBI if my calculations were off. Arrived in FTL with 45 minutes reserve and watched the "newbie" refueler looking under the wing for leaks as he passed 60 and 65 gallons.
Grady Bell 2
This just makes complete sense that the government who doesn't allow individual states to pass legislation with regards to illegal immigration goes after the small business owner who had nothing to do with the crime. This is supposed to deter illegal use of an aircraft by making the rental owner responsible for the action. Do you think that they will apply this same logic to the missuse of a gun???
chris wood 2
OUTRAGEOUS! This is our Damn Tyrannical government at work. Allow millions of illegal aliens to live and work in the country but penalize the American citizen business owner when he is Defrauded. Good Job, keep up the good the work you lazy incompetent FEDS.
I think it is wonderful the Feds caught this guy. No surprise he is Hispanic. Prosecute him to the fullest but return the plane to the flight school. The owner is likely a vey hard working and honest man trying to keep GA going out of Hemet.

We need racial profiling in this country!!!
Troy Raiteri 1
Well I certainly hope he can get his rightful owned plane back! But before that he has to get through the thick headed Government in order to do so then it's a free ticket home.
Andrew Skretvedt 1
The message gov't policy effectively sends better do our work and pry hard into your customers' business before you offer your service. "And if you see something, sayyy something!" (or you're next!)
Randy Comeau 1
I think that the business owner should be more careful who he rents his business to, Why is a flight school renting out his aircraft? Seems to me he had to know something was up. One would think that if the person was well known to the owner you might have an idea of his character.
pfp217 2
And then they get slapped with a discrimination law suit.
Gene Nowak 1
Flight schools routinely rent out their aircraft to put hours on the acft. Here is one near me.
Daniel Baker 1
It is the norm for flight schools to rent their aircraft to pilots. The customers may have been previous students of the flight school, or local pilots who want to rent a plane by the hour. Usually all that's required is a credit card on file, proof of insurance, a copy of your pilot's license and medical, and a <1hr check-out flight with one of their instructors. I've rented from places all over the country, no big deal.
Roland Dent 1
They choose easy targets to bully. The idea is to catch 'em before they do the bad stuff but they just don't have the brains or guts to do that. Just why this is allowed to continue mystifies me? Just WHAT is going on on these agencies?
dmanuel 1
I have read many stories where drugs have been detected in arriving air carrier aircraft. Are those airplanes seized? What if someone uses a train to transport illegals (either by ticket purchase or they jump on as it passes), is that train confiscated? When a cargo ship is in port and a crew member jumps ship (entering the country illegally), isn't the ship technically transporting non-documented aliens). Are these things confiscated? If not, why, since the same violation appears to have been committed. What if the Skyhawk had been stolen, rather than rented (I suspect the rental company had a clause that the renter violated negating the rental contract)? I wonder if the FAA will investigate to see if the pilot was certified as a 'commercial pilot', since we was probably getting paid to fly.
sparkie624 1
This is wrong. If the plane belonged to the drug smuggler, then take it... All this is doing is hurting a small businessman trying to make an honest living.
Jim Quinn 1
It's the old "guilty until (and if) proven innocent" thing.... Pretty soon some local Sheriff's Department will probably be using the C172 for its own purposes...
jim garrity 0
This just sucks BIG TIME! I hope he can get his plane back?

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