Six racehorses have been caught up in a major international drugs sting after more than 80kg of cocaine was seized from a plane in Argentina.
The plane was due to transport the horses, along with other cargo, on part of their journey to Singapore for racing purposes, but it was halted following a security operation at the Ezeiza International Airport near Buenos Aires.
It is thought the horses had not boarded the plane – a Boeing 747 freighter aircraft operated by Martinair Holland which was bound for Amsterdam – before police swooped.
The six Argentinian-bred horses, two older horses who have raced and four unraced two-year-olds, were being dispatched via Amsterdam to British trainer James Peters, who is based in Singapore, to run for an international syndicate.
Peters, a former assistant to late trainer John Hills, has been coming to terms with being inadvertently embroiled in an incident that has made the front pages in Argentina and headlines around the globe.
“You couldn’t make it up, it’s one of those freak things that is completely out of our control,” Peters said on Saturday. “When I was trying to explain to one of the owners, they thought I was joking.
“The horses left the farm in Argentina en route to the airport and everything went smoothly and then the next morning I got a message saying the flight has been delayed the police have seized the plane.
“The police knew straight away it wasn’t anything to do with the horse shipment and the horses went back to the farm and that’s where they are currently.
“The horses weren’t under any stress and all is well with them and they’ve been rescheduled to fly next month.”
Local reports claim eight people have been arrested, including three crew members of the plane, in what is being described as one of the biggest drugs hauls ever found on an aircraft.
KLM, Martinair’s parent company, told Dutch news service RTL Nieuws they are co-operating with the investigation. – Racingpost.com