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Afghan, Iranians found on Canada flight with fake tickets

Airplanes wait their turn to take off on a runway of the Simon Bolivar airport in La Guaira, outside Caracas September 23, 2013. (REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

CARACAS: A Toronto-bound flight was stopped shortly before departure from Caracas when four Iranians and an Afghan were found aboard with fake tickets and no visas, Venezuelan officials said Saturday.

The captain of Air Canada Flight 075 discovered there were five extra passengers aboard his flight as it was scheduled to depart late Friday, said Luis Graterol, the head of the Simon Bolivar Maiquetia International Airport.

All those on board were forced to disembark and military officials identified the suspicious passengers, Graterol told the state-run Venezuelan News Agency.

The Iranians and the Afghan "did not have a visa to enter Canada, nor legitimate tickets," Graterol said.

He added that the flight had been delayed for five hours due to the incident.

The office of Venezuela's prosecutor general said that charges will be pressed against four people in the case: a member of Venezuela's immigration office, an Air Canada employee, and two workers with an airport security company.

The suspects will face charges "linked to the illegal trafficking of five foreigners" at the Simon Bolivar airport, the office said in a statement.

No details were given on whether the five illegal passengers would face charges.

The security lapse comes after 1.3 tonnes of cocaine were found aboard an Air France jet that departed from the same airport in September and landed in Paris.

At least 28 people have been detained in that case, including eight members of Venezuela's National Guard, various airport officials, and an Air France employee.

 

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