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Private jet loaded with weapons and cash stopped from leaving for Venezuela

U.S. Marshals charged two Venezuelan pilots, Gregoni Jenson Mendez, 40, and Luis Alberto Patino, 36, with illegally possessing firearms. (Dreamstime/TNS)

A Learjet loaded with weapons and cash was stopped from leaving the U.S. for Venezuela over the weekend.

Seized at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport were 18 assault/bolt actions rifles with optics, six shotguns, 58 semi-automatic pistols and $20,312 in cash and $2,618.53 in endorsed checks, a news release said. Air and Marine Operations in Fort Lauderdale seized the plane and a vehicle.

Two Venezuelan nationals were arrested but not identified by Homeland Security Investigations.

According to Broward Sheriff’s Office booking records, the pilots are Gregoni Jenson Mendéz, 40, and Luis Alberto Patiño, 36. Both were charged with illegally possessing firearms, and they are in the custody of U.S. Marshals.

Several agencies, including Customs and Border Protection, were already investigating the plane, the release said.


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