QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — A Mexican-registered plane carrying two men, a large amount of cash and a dog crashed in Ecuador, and officials said Monday that the aircraft had not filed a flight plan and they suspected the money might be related to drug trafficking.
The plane crashed into a hillside Sunday night near the city of Perdernales on Ecuador's central coast.
Interior Minister Jose Serrano said in a TV interview Monday that "a great amount" of money was on board and that the dead pilot and copilot were Mexican. He did not say how much money was found or in what currency. He said authorities had cordoned off the area.
"We presume the money was for laundering to pay for drugs that it was going to pick up," he said.
Ecuador is a transit country for traffickers of cocaine produced in neighboring Colombia. Mexican drug trafficking organizations smuggle the cocaine northward to the United States and send cash back.
No flight plan had been filed for the plane, Ecuador's civil aviation authority said in a statement. It said it has asked Mexico's government "to confirm the plane's origin and occupants."