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Thread: 9/11 Flight School Owner Faces Cocaine Charges

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    9/11 Flight School Owner Faces Cocaine Charges

    9/11 flight school owner faces cocaine charges
    Rudy Dekkers wrote in a book that he was ruined by news of his unwitting connection to the 9/11 attack.

    http://www2.tbo.com/news/breaking-ne...ges-ar-581530/

    By ELAINE SILVESTRINI | The Tampa Tribune
    Published: December 13, 2012
    Updated: December 13, 2012 - 3:37 PM

    TAMPA A year after he published a book about his travails, the owner of a flight school where two 9/11 hijackers trained has been arrested in Houston on cocaine trafficking charges.

    A federal judge last week ordered Rudy Dekkers held without bond pending his trial, partially because the Netherlands citizen poses a risk of flight.

    Dekkers was chief executive officer and president of Huffman Aviation in Venice, where 9/11 terrorists Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi enrolled as students.

    Dekkers wrote in his book and told interviewers he was financially ruined by news coverage about his unwitting connection with the worst terrorist incident on U.S. soil.

    Still, Dekkers immediately volunteered information about his link to the terrorist attack when he appeared at a Texas flight school recently to ask about renting a small airplane, said the general manager, Aaron Stinson.

    "The first day I met him, he told me all about his past," said Stinson, at The Flight School Inc., in Cypress, Texas. "He said, 'Would you ever want to do some flying for me?' I said absolutely not. You can instantly tell when someone is doing something they probably ought not to be doing."

    According to a federal complaint filed in Houston, an undercover agent for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was introduced to Dekkers on Halloween by Arturo Astorquiza, who investigators believe is the leader of an international drug trafficking organization.

    At the meeting, Dekkers told the agent he was involved in transporting narcotics by private aircraft, and had flown drugs and cash with no problems, according to the complaint.

    Astorquiza was arrested Nov. 5 on Texas firearms charges, and six days later, Dekkers called the undercover agent with information about the arrest. Dekkers told the agent he would be willing to work with the agent on trafficking narcotics, the complaint states.

    Dekkers called the undercover agent on Nov. 29 to say he would be flying to Houston from Florida the following day to transport narcotics using private aircraft, the complaint states. Dekkers met the agent the following day and said he planned to obtain about six kilos of cocaine and would be paid about $9,000 for piloting the plane.

    Homeland Security agents put Dekkers under surveillance and watched as he went to Flight School and then to Texas Flight Services Inc. Agents believed Dekkers was asking about renting aircraft.

    The next day, agents followed Dekkers as he drove to a mall where he met with two men, one later identified as Rogelio Martinez-Flores. And the day after that, Dec. 2, Dekker again visited The Flight School, where he met with Martinez-Flores, who handed him a blue suitcase, according to the complaint.

    Dekkers left the suitcase at the door and went inside. He and Martinez-Flores were then arrested. Agents later obtained a warrant to search the suitcase and found more than 18 kilos of cocaine and 860 grams of heroin inside, the complaint states.

    On Monday, a federal judge in Houston issued an order detaining Dekkers, citing "credible evidence" he committed the crimes with which he was charged.

    U.S. Magistrate George C. Hanks Jr. noted that Dekkers is subject to deportation because he does not have legal status in the U.S. Dekkers' residency status before his arrest was not immediately clear.

    The judge's order says Dekkers "lacks any real financial assets and lacks gainful employment." Although Dekkers told the court he lives with his wife and their 4-year-old son in Florida, the judge noted evidence that Dekkers' wife actually lives in Cuba.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Ex-Venice flight school owner with 9/11 connection imprisoned

    http://www.heraldtribune.com/article...ion-imprisoned

    Published: Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 7:10 p.m.
    Last Modified: Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 8:05 p.m.

    Rudi Dekkers blamed his inadvertent connection to the 9/11 terrorist attacks for costing him his job, his marriage and his reputation.

    But terrorism is not related to Dekkers’ current troubles, which have the former owner of a Venice flight school incarcerated in a federal prison in Texas.

    Dekkers, 56, is accused of accepting a blue suitcase in Houston on Dec. 2 containing 18.7 kilograms of cocaine and 860 grams of heroin, according to the Houston Chronicle. Dekkers admitted to an undercover Homeland Security Investigations agent that he ferried drugs and cash in private aircraft in exchange for payment, the Chronicle’s website reported.

    According to a federal complaint filed in Houston, an undercover agent for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was introduced to Dekkers on Halloween by Arturo Astorquiza, who investigators believe is the leader of an international drug trafficking organization, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

    Dekkers is the former owner of Huffman Aviation in Venice, where 9/11 leader Mohamed Atta and fellow terrorist Marwan al-Shehhi, who each piloted a hijacked jetliner into the World Trade Center, learned to fly.

    After the attacks, Dekkers expressed outrage that an intelligence unit of the U.S. government suspected Atta was training in the United States, but never shared it with the FBI or other agencies that could have stopped the terrorists.

    Huffman Aviation, located at Venice Municipal Airport, closed six months after the attacks. Dekkers moved to Naples.

    “Everywhere I come, they say, ‘Are you not that guy that trained terrorists?’ ” Dekkers said in a 2005 interview with the Herald-Tribune. “I am without a job right now. I have no income anymore. My life was destroyed.”

    The Chronicle reported, “His arrest marks the latest chapter in Dekkers’ slide from his pre-9/11 life, when he lived in a tony, Florida subdivision, drove a Dodge Viper and estimated his net worth to be about $12 million.”

    Dekkers faces two drug conspiracy counts.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Flight trainer of 9/11 terrorists faces federal drug charges

    http://www.chron.com/news/houston-te...al-4116147.php

    By Susan Carroll | December 13, 2012 | Updated: December 13, 2012 6:33pm

    For years, Rudi Dekkers blamed his life's steep, downward spiral on two men who walked into his Florida flight school in the summer of 2000.

    In the tense days after the 9/11 attacks, Dekkers said he was demonized for providing flight training to Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi, the hijackers who flew planes into the World Trade Center. Dekkers protested his innocence widely - saying he had no idea the two were terrorists - and even penned a book titled "Guilty by Association."

    Now, Dekkers, 56, is locked up in a federal prison in Houston, charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to posses with the intent to distribute cocaine and heroin. The complaint against Dekkers alleges he admitted to an undercover Homeland Security Investigations agent that he ferried drugs and cash in private aircraft in exchange for payment.

    The court records show that federal agents trailing Dekkers in Houston watched him accept a blue rolling suitcase carrying 18.74 kilograms of cocaine and 860 grams of heroin, leading to his arrest Dec. 2 along with another man.

    Dekker's public defender did not return a phone call for comment.

    His arrest marks the latest chapter in Dekker's slide from his pre-9/11 life, when he lived in a tony, Florida subdivision, drove a Dodge Viper and estimated his net worth to be about $12 million.

    But Dekkers lost that wealth after federal agents swarmed his flight training school, Huffman Aviation, the day after the terrorist attacks. Dekkers said in his book that his unfair association with the attacks resulted in death threats and a downward financial spiral that included bankruptcy and eventually led to the disintegration of his 20-year marriage.

    Recent media reports quoted Dekkers as saying he had regained some optimism and remarried, and had a daughter with his new wife.

    But Dekkers now finds himself facing potentially stiff prison time.

    According to the criminal complaint, Homeland Security Investigations agents were investigating an international drug trafficking organization allegedly led by another man, identified in court records as 36-year-old Arturo Astorquiza, when they came across Dekkers.

    After being introduced to the undercover agent on Oct. 31, Dekkers allegedly said "he was involved in narcotics transportation via private aircraft and that he has flown narcotics and U.S. currency previously without any problems," according to the criminal complaint in the case.

    Astorquiza was arrested Nov. 5 in the parking lot of his Houston apartment complex by Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agents, charged with firearms smuggling in connection with the transfer of an AK-47 to an illegal immigrant, court records show.

    After Astorquiza's arrest, Dekkers allegedly called the undercover agent and said he'd still be willing to work with him to smuggle drugs, according to the complaint. On Nov. 29, Dekkers called the agent and said he would be in Houston picking up drugs, the complaint alleged.

    The next day, Dekkers met with the agent and said he planned to make another flight, and would be paid $9,000 for transporting six kilograms of cocaine, according to the complaint.

    Agents watched Dekkers as he visited flight schools in Cypress and Spring and as he met with two men at Memorial City Mall.

    At 12:20 p.m. Dec. 2, Dekkers met one of the same men, Rogelio Martinez-Flores, in the parking lot of a Cypress flight school and accepted a blue, rolling suitcase, the complaint states. The agents closed in on Dekkers and Martinez-Flores, who also was arrested. Inside the blue suitcase, the agents found cocaine and heroin.

    Julia Hall, who works as a dispatcher at one of the Houston-area flight schools Dekkers visited, said she quickly got a bad vibe from Dekkers. "I never liked him. Within a very short amount of time, he told me who he was. Do you want the guy who trained the 911 terrorists in your presence?"

    After his arrest, a judge ordered Dekkers to remain in custody pending trial, noting that he is a citizen of the Netherlands without legal status in the U.S. No one answered the door at the two-story, suburban Montgomery County home linked to Dekkers through a public records search. The home had a "for lease" sign on the front lawn.

    In an interview with Fox 26 in Houston marking the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Dekkers told the reporter he had moved to Texas to nourish his new career as a keynote speaker.

    When asked if he would ever "outrun the shadow" of 9/11, Dekkers has a quick reply: "Yeah. When I die."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    9/11 suspects' flying teacher faces drug charges

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/12/1...her-faces.html

    The Associated Press

    HOUSTON -- The ex-owner of the Florida flight school where two 9/11 terror suspects learned to fly has been ordered jailed without bond after he was arrested in Houston on drug trafficking charges.

    Rudi Dekkers is charged with two drug conspiracy counts. Court documents show he was nabbed Dec. 2 in a federal drug sting while representing an international drug trafficker.

    A federal complaint says that after meetings and lengthy surveillance, Dekkers was found in possession of about 40 pounds of cocaine and about two pounds of heroin.

    The Dutch national is held without bond as a serious flight risk.

    Dekkers formerly owned the Florida flight school where investigators say Mohamed Atta and Marwan el Shehhi learned to fly. Atta was the operational leader of the 9/11 hijackings.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Report: Venice's Dekkers bragged about lawbreaking

    http://www.heraldtribune.com/article...ICLE/121219606

    By Lee Williams
    Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 11:25 a.m.
    Last Modified: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 11:25 a.m.

    HOUSTON - Rudi Dekkers bragged to an undercover federal agent that he has flown illegal drugs and cash around the country without encountering any problems from law enforcement, according to a federal complaint filed against him earlier this month.

    The boast, delivered on Halloween during a meeting in Houston, as well as the identity of one of Dekkers' associates, caught the attention of federal agents, who placed Dekkers under round-the-clock surveillance.

    Just one month later, agents nabbed the former Venice flight school owner with a suitcase containing more than 18 kilos of cocaine and nearly a kilo of heroin, as he was about to board a small plane he had rented from a Texas flight school, court records show.

    Unlike the last time Dekkers faced scrutiny for his actions, when he blamed his misfortunes on two 9/11 conspirators whom he trained to fly, in Houston there was no one else to blame.

    He remains in federal custody and was not available to comment.

    Dekkers, 56, is the former owner of Huffman Aviation, where 9/11 leader Mohamed Atta and fellow terrorist Marwan al-Shehhi, who each piloted a hijacked jetliner into the World Trade Center, learned to fly.

    After the attacks, Dekkers expressed outrage that U.S. intelligence agencies suspected Atta was training in the United States, but never shared information with the FBI or other law enforcement agencies that could have stopped the terrorists.

    Dekkers wrote a book and appeared on cable news networks to talk about his experiences.

    He has not spoken publicly since his Dec. 3 arrest in Houston.

    According to the federal complaint, Homeland Security Special Agent Michael Gonzales was investigating an international drug trafficking organization led by Arturo Astorquiza, which specializes in smuggling cocaine into the country.

    An undercover agent met with Astorquiza, who introduced him to Dekkers.

    According to the complaint, Dekkers told the agent that "he was involved in narcotics transportation via private aircraft and that he has flown narcotics and U.S. currency previously without any problems."

    Five days later, agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrested Astorquiza for smuggling guns.

    Dekkers called the undercover agent and told him of Astorquiza's arrest, but said he was still willing to smuggle drugs, the complaint says.

    On Nov. 29, Dekkers told the undercover agent he would be flying from Florida to Houston to transport drugs out of Texas in a private plane.

    Dekkers met with the agent the next day, and bragged that he would be paid $9,000 for transporting six kilos of cocaine.

    Agents placed Dekkers under 24-hour surveillance and followed him to a flight school in Cypress, Texas. They assumed he was renting a plane.

    On Dec. 1, they followed him to a shopping mall where he met with two men. A day later, they saw Dekkers meet with one of the men outside the flight school.

    When the suspect gave Dekkers a blue suitcase, agents pounced and arrested both men. It contained nearly 40 pounds of cocaine and two pounds of heroin.

    Dekkers was charged with two separate violations of U.S. Code: possession with intent to distribute more than five kilos cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin. He faces a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, and up to 40 years in a federal prison.

    On Dec. 10, U.S. Magistrate Judge George C. Hanks Jr. ordered him held until trial.

    Prosecutors declined to discuss the case.

    Dekkers was born in the Netherlands where he earned his private pilot's license. He immigrated to the United States in 1993.

    He purchased Huffman Aviation in 1998 with the help of business partner Wally Hilliard, who did not return calls seeking comment.

    Huffman Aviation, which was located at Venice Municipal Airport, closed six months after the 9/11 attacks. It was sold to another aviation firm, which was itself sold in 2004.

    In 2003 Dekkers was charged with defrauding Hilliard, who later attempted to drop his complaint. Charges were later dismissed by prosecutors.

    While the fraud case was still hanging over him, Dekkers crashed his 1967 Fairchild Hiller helicopter into the Caloosahatchee River. The pilot of another helicopter, Anthony Douangdara, hovered over Dekkers' partially-submerged aircraft, Dekkers grabbed onto a skid, and Douangdara dropped him off on shore.

    Douangdara did not return calls for comment.

    In April 2004, both Dekkers and Hilliard were charged by federal authorities with making 26 flights in three Learjets without the appropriate FAA certificates.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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