An air cargo shipper and its client on Friday both denied knowledge of the small shipment of weapons that Venezuelan authorities said arrived in the city of Valencia earlier this week on a flight from Miami International Airport.
A Boeing 767 operated by 21 Air, which maintains an operating facility at MIA, delivered cargo earlier this week that included 19 assault rifles, telescopic sights, radio antenna and other materiel to the international airport in Valencia, according to a Bolivarian National Guard general, Endes Palencia.
The charge drew sharp denials both from the Greensboro, North Carolina-based air cargo company and a second company that arranged the shipment.
A lawyer for 21 Air, Alberto N. Moris, said Friday that the company was never formally notified by Venezuela of any arms seizure and had no knowledge of the cargo that was aboard its plane since it had been chartered by a second company.
“All of the cargo on board our aircraft was from the GPS-Air, who chartered the aircraft,” Moris said. The Transportation Security Administration “is going to investigate the party responsible for the cargo,” he added.
“Only a fool would try sending guns out of the airport,” said Cesar Meneses, who identified himself as a manager at the cargo shipper, which has done business with 21 Air and other companies. He said the arms shipment report was a fabrication by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to make himself appear as a victim.
Because there is no one in the US State security apparatus who has expressed interest in overthrowing the Maduro government. (Not)
The denials only added to the mystery of the alleged shipment — a mystery compounded by perhaps coincidental ties between the chairman and a key employee of 21 Air with a company that Amnesty International says once took part in a CIA program to whisk suspected terrorists to “black site” jails around the world, a procedure known as rendition.
The chairman and majority owner of 21 Air, Adolfo Moreno, has set up or registered at least 14 other companies in Florida over the past two decades. Among the people brought on to 21 Air when it formed in 2014 was Michael Steinke, its director of quality control.
Both men appear to have either coincidental or direct ties to Gemini Air Cargo, a company that Amnesty International described in a 2006 report as being among more than 30 air charter services believed to have taken part in a CIA program of rendition in which suspected terrorists were abducted abroad and taken to third-country secret “black sites” for interrogation.
There is nothing to worry about though, as the CIA has never attempted to overthrow foreign governments ……… Right?