SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) - Authorities have detained 18 military officials and two U.S. pilots after stopping a cocaine-laden airplane from taking off, officials said Friday.
The small plane, a Short 360, was carrying 145 1-kilogram (2.2-pound) bricks of cocaine and was bound for Puerto Rico late Thursday, said Rolando Rosado Mateo, president of the National Drug Control Agency.
The officials detained include members of the drug control agency and airport security, along with a captain, three lieutenants and two lieutenant colonels.
He said agents also found $70,000 in cash inside a car that belongs to one official.
Rosado identified the pilots as Kevin Kuranz and Christopher Smith.
The plane's owner, Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Air Cargo Carriers LLC, issued a statement saying it was cooperating with U.S. and Dominican authorities. "The company denies any knowledge in the matter and expects that its pilot and copilot, who have been detained for questioning, will be released," it said in a statement.
The Dominican Republic is a major transit point for drugs bound for the United States.
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