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What happens to confiscated drug smuggler aircraft?

There is a story going around at the moment about some Brit having been caught in France, with a plane rented from a school, probably.

If a smuggler rents a plane from a school, gets caught, and let's assume the plane is confiscated by French Customs:

I would assume that, in France, the police are going to just keep it, unless somebody is able to pull some big political favours, or throw serious money at a lawyer, but a good lawyer will be €10k for the 1st day, and with the average self fly hire plane being worth say €30k...

Can the school can claim on their insurance? The plane was taken with their consent so they cannot claim straight theft. But the flight was both unauthorised and illegal (due to prohibited cargo).

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Good question,

I also wonder, what happens to the actual aircraft? You can`t let it rot away forever? Close to us, there was a suspicious Cessna confiscated the other day; fate unknown. I wonder, who would buy a plane like that; to fly I mean? Granted , it could be stripped for parts but would you fly it?

I dont know, its like buying an ex-gang leader`s fancy car at a police auction.......you never know if sweet revenge could make holes in your windscreen!

Ultra Long Hauler

This is speculation, based on having had some peripheral involvement in a couple of these. One was a very nice Cessna 206, stolen in the US, flown into Canada laden with drugs, and crashed alarmingly close to where I lived at the time. We bid to buy the wreck from the insurance company, who had paid out the owner - but they payed out on the stolen plane - not a rented one.

A friend of mine rented his Aztec to a fellow for a Caribbean trip. The fellow called my friend each week to extend the rental, and sent more money. By the third week, my friend said, no, I'd rather have the plane back. It turns out it had been impounded on an island for smuggling. My friend flew down, and bought his plane back from the police, then went to buy his radios back from the local avionics shop. He did fly it home.

I would hope (though I do not know) that once a rented aircraft was really not returned at the end of the agreed rental period, it could be deemed to have been stolen?

Home runway, in central Ontario, Canada
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