The Pivot employees reported what turned out to be 210 kilograms. Of cocaine hidden in the ‘avionics bay’ of their plane in April. Only for Dominican authorities to treat the crew and their seven passengers as suspects and throw them behind bars.
The 20 or so local inmates shared a tiny jail cell in the Dominican Republic. With a Canadian airline, the
crew spoke only Spanish. But they didn’t let the language barrier get in the way of their endless attempts to extort the foreigners.
The Dominican prisoners simply used the translation app on their cell phones to render the threats of violence and death into English, says Capt. Rob DiVenanzo, who headed the Pivot Airlines crew.
“It was just atrocious,” the Guelph, Ont., resident recalled in an interview this week. “Every day you’d get up in the morning and the threats started: ‘You’re going to get money today or you’re not going to sleep tonight.‘”
The Pivot Employees
Of their plane in April, only for Dominican authorities to treat the employees and their seven passengers as suspects and throw them behind bars. A judge freed the Canadians on bail later in April — on the condition they each pay $23,000 and not leave. The country — citing a lack of evidence incriminating them.
That’s why he is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to raise their case when. He meets with Dominican President Luis Abinader on the sidelines. The Summit of the Americas meeting Wednesday in Los Angeles. Trudeau should urge Abinader to let the Canadians leave the country given they actually uncovered the drug-smuggling attempt, he said.
“We’re pleading with the prime minister to (help) secure our release as soon as possible,” said DiVincenzo. “We’re five airline flight crew members that are in a living hell, all for doing the right thing … Instead of being treated as heroes or witnesses to something, we’re being looked at by the Dominican Republic government as villains.”
A spokeswoman for Trudeau was unable to comment by the deadline. The extraordinary case has already prompted. The Airline Pilots Association – North America’s largest union for commercial aviators – and unions. Representing the two Pivot flight attendants and a mechanic to warn other flight crews of the dangers of flying into the Dominican Republic.
Pivot’s CEO, Eric Edmondson, has suggested all Canadians think twice about traveling to the Caribbean country. Canada is the second-largest source of business for the Dominican Republic’s crucial Tourism industry. Sending close to a million vacationers there years before the pandemic.
Past reports by human-rights groups and legal watchdogs have highlighted chronic abuses. In the Dominican legal system, the World Justice Project ranks it 100th out of 139 countries in the absence of corruption in its 2021 “rule of law index.”
Pivot had flown a group of potential investors in an Alberta company. Their guests to the resort town of Punta Cana in late March for a holiday. Mechanic BK Dubey discovered a case inside the avionics bay, which holds computers and cables.