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US seizes Venezuelan plane held in Argentina since 2022

(CNN Spanish) –– The U.S. government has seized a Boeing cargo plane from Venezuela’s state-owned Emtrasur that was sold by a sanctioned Iranian airline in violation of federal export control laws, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice on Monday.

The cargo plane, a Boeing 747-300M, took off from Argentina, which has been impounded since 2022, and landed at a secret airport in Florida.

The plane was owned by Mahan Air before being sold to a Venezuelan state company, which Washington points to as supporting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, which the United States considers a terrorist organization.

The U.S. Department of Justice, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami, obtained the seizure order in July 2022. Since then, the aircraft has been grounded to this day.

The seizure order was executed with the cooperation of Argentine authorities. CNN tried to contact the Argentinian airport police and the South American country’s judge in charge of the case, Federico Villena, but did not receive a reply until noon on Monday.

Emtrasur is a subsidiary of Venezuela’s national flag airline Conviasa.

After learning of the plane’s arrival in the United States, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Ivan Gil described the transfer of the plane as “blatant theft” and said the act violated “all the rules governing civil aviation, as well as assisting the commercial, commercial, and commercial activities of the above-mentioned companies.” civil and political rights, putting aviation security in the region at risk,” said a statement posted on its X account (formerly Twitter).

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