The US plane was shot down after illegally entering Venezuelan airspace in the province of Zulia.
The Venezuelan army shot down a plane registered in the United States that was transporting drugs, announced the Minister of the Interior, Nestor Reverol.
According to him, the incident happened on Tuesday, and the plane was shot down after illegally entering Venezuelan airspace in the province of Zulia, near the border with Colombia.
“After the illegal aircraft was detected by the Comprehensive Aerospace Defense radars, the National Bolivarian Armed Forces activated all protocols established by the Comprehensive Airspace Defense Control Act,” Reverol tweeted, citing a 2013 law authorizing the destruction of any suspicious aircraft, a drug cartel operating in Venezuelan airspace.
“We are still on constant alert, monitoring our airspace to prevent it from being used for the illicit drug trade from Colombia, which is the largest producer of cocaine in the world,” Reverol added.
Tuesday’s incident is the second since July 8, when fighter jets destroyed another plane with a US registration number as it entered Venezuelan airspace. A month earlier, the military had destroyed another private plane loaded with drugs.
The Venezuelan military is equipped with the latest Russian military equipment, including the S-300 air defense system, which has long-range radar, as well as Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets, which the country bought before Washington imposed an embargo on the sale of military equipment to Caracas in 2000. years.
Venezuela has been a popular route for Colombian cocaine traffickers since the 1970s. In recent years, however, the country has stepped up its efforts to combat drug smuggling across its territory, while severing ties with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) over suspicions of espionage activities unrelated to drug smuggling.
Despite Caracas’ efforts to fight drug trafficking, Washington has accused Venezuela of not doing enough to address the problem, even claiming that senior Venezuelan officials themselves are involved in “narco-terrorist cartel” operations.
Venezuelan officials attacked their American colleagues because of those claims, while President Nicolas Maduro described the accusations as a fantasy of “racist cowboy” Donald Trump.