Sunday, December 16, 2012

Jet Rental and Jenni Rivera

This blog reported the untimely death of singer, Jenni Rivera when the LearJet 25 (tail # N345MC) that she rode in crashed shortly after take off from Monterey, Mexico. 

Nobody knows precisely why the airplane crashed but here are the theories that are bouncing around and I share them here as precisely that -- THEORIES.

  1. The 78 year old pilot had a health issue that resulted in pilot error and the airplane crashed.
  2. The five passengers, who woke up the (old) pilot at 2:30 am and had him spin up the Lear may have been drinking/partying and may have been a little rowdy. Reports from people who were hanging out with Jenni and didn't get on the airplane suggest that this may be the case. Combine five boozed-up people, goofing around and a sleepy 78 year old man flying the airplane -- and nothing good is going to happen.
  3. Some kind of equipment failure is unlikely, but possible. The flight data recorder information hasn't been released yet and we simply have to wait and see.

Christian Esquino, who runs Starwood Management and rents jets among other things, denied involvement with drug smuggling. DEA seized a Hawker and a Gulfstream from Starwood in Texas and Arizona, respectively, in 2012 but Esquino maintains that he's innocent of any involvement with smuggling.
The US Government indicted Esquino in the early 1990s along with 12 other defendants in a major federal drug investigation which claimed that Esquino and friends planned to sell more than 480 kilograms of cocaine. He eventually plead guilty to conspiring to conceal money from the IRS and was sentenced to five years in prison.
In 2004, Esquino pled guilty to committing fraud involving aircraft that he purchased in Mexico. The government alleged that he falsified log books before re-selling the aircraft in the US. He was sentenced to two years in federal prison -- but now maintains that he was innocent. 
Many luminaries rent aircraft from Starwood and Esquino including former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rohn. Jorge Hank, billionaire, has been a suspect in various narcotics investigations over the years. Some maintain that he is a key player in the Arellano Felix Cartel. Others suggest that these day's he's merely "crazy as a shithouse rat". Jorge Hank planned a run for Governor of Baja California Norte that was cut short when Mexican Army (SEDENA) raided his home, seizing a large cache of automatic weapons. 
Some cynics feel that the raid was politically motivated by others in the PRI to eliminate him from the list of potential candidates. By failing to obtain a search warrant before the race, the Mexican Army was able to expose Jorge Hank without prosecuting him for the contraband that they found in his mansion.

There is nothing that indicates that Rivera's death was linked to narcotics smuggling. She simply rented a jet and Starwood provided her with an inexpensive, but experienced pilot of nearly 80 years. If there is a lesson in this, I leave it to the reader to decide for themselves.

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