FGE PRESS RELEASE No. 293-DC-2021
Santa Cruz (Galápagos), March 24, 2021.- Prosecutor’s Office prosecuted five police officers on active duty for the crime of alteration of evidence in relation to the disappearance of a plane that was at the Isabela airport, in Galapagos, under investigation and in the chain of custody of the National Police.
In the hearing to determine charges held in the Judicial Unit of this canton, the prosecutor of Santa Cruz, Lleislayne Chuncho, presented as elements of conviction: the investigation reports of the Judicial Police and Civil Aviation; the reports of the raids executed to the Community Police Unit; the plane’s registration report, reported to Ecu 9-1-1; versions of the uniformed personnel who were in the police unit; the records of the search of the offices of the Civil Aviation Directorate (DAC) at the airport, in which eleven cell phones were seized; a base computer and a laptop.
In addition, the Prosecutor’s Office presented: the statements of DAC officials; the police reports of the discovery of the aircraft on January 8, and the elements collected at the scene; the report on the recognition of the scene of the events; the certificates of functions, shifts and place where the investigated police officers worked. On this basis, the preventive detention of those investigated was requested.
The Judge of Criminal Guarantees, Ramón Abad, partially accepted the request of the Prosecutor’s Office and issued precautionary measures to prohibit leaving the country and presentation to the authority for the policemen Jonathan Alexander M. P, , Luis Carlos Ch. A., Franklin Ramiro B. C., Julio Marcelo R. Ch. And Patricio A. D. The fiscal statement will last ninety days.
On January 8, 2021, a Cessna Conquest II type plane landed at Isabela airport without authorization from aeronautical officials and with an apparently altered registration. In addition, those who were in the aircraft fled the scene, leaving it abandoned.
The plane was in the chain of custody of the Judicial Police once the Prosecutor’s Office initiated a preliminary investigation into these events, for an alleged crime of organized crime, related to charges by the Santa Cruz prosecutor, Lleslayne Chuncho.
On March 17, the Prosecutor’s Office asked the Aeropolicial Unit to transfer the plane to Guayaquil, a request that was not answered, as it did not have pilots –according to the Police– for the transfer of said aircraft.
This Monday, March 22, the aircraft – which was still at the airfield – disappeared from the place without a record of exactly how and when the event occurred. For this reason, the Prosecutor’s Office ordered, ex officio, the opening of an investigation to determine the causes of this disappearance and those allegedly responsible for this new event.
Both investigations are confidential.
Prosecutor’s Office processed this case based on Article 292 of the Comprehensive Organic Criminal Code (COIP), which punishes the crime of alteration of evidence and alteration of elements of evidence (to the person or public servant, who alters or destroys vestiges, material evidence or other elements for the investigation of an offense) with a custodial sentence of one to three years.
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Read the press statement in full at https://www.fiscalia.gob.ec/5-policias-son-procesados-por-presunta-alteracion-de-evidencias-tras-desaparicion-de-avioneta-en-galapagos/
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