Rumor: Airplane that crashed with Jenni Rivera linked to drug cartel

The plane that crashed in Mexico and reportedly killed Latina superstar Jenni Rivera was owned by a man having links to a violent Tijuana drug cartel.


UNCONFIRMED: Connection to cartel

            Christian Esquino Nuñez, whose Las Vegas-based company, Starwood Management, owns the plane that was carrying Rivera, reportedly has ties to a drug ring operated by the Arellano Felix brothers, sources tell the National Enquirer and Radar Online. (Read about the final Arellano Felix brother to be extradited to the U.S.)

CONFIRMED: Plane owner’s criminal past

            According to court records, Esquino Nuñez has a long criminal record.

In stories posted by CNN, NBC News and other news outlets, Nunez has been convicted on several counts of falsifying aircraft records and drug-trafficking charges. (He was indicted on this drug charge in 1993.)

Plane damaged in past

            Mexican authorities are searching for Esquino Nuñez, demanding that he provide maintenance records and other information about the plane that crashed. Built in 1969, the twin-turbojet was badly damaged in a 2005 landing accident at Amarillo International Airport in Texas, according to the NBC News story.

Witness in another case

            Law enforcement sources told NBC News that Esquino Nuñez is scheduled to testify in Mexico City this week in a criminal case involving the Mexican government and a Coronado woman.

The Mexican government claims that San Diego-based Veritas Worldwide Security and Gabriela Davila-Cueto, a real estate agent from Coronado, used one of Esquino Nuñez’s planes to smuggle Saadi Gaddafi, the son of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, into Mexico. (Read more about the case here.)


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