Three uniformed members of the Colombian National Police were in a P.E.I. courtroom Monday trying to win back possession of a pair of airplane engines the Colombian government sent to the Island for servicing.
The three officers did not speak during the hearing in the P.E.I. Supreme Court of Appeal. A Charlottetown lawyer laid out their case, which involves a pair of million dollar airplane engines now sitting in the possession of Vector Aerospace in Summerside.
The airplane engines are from a de Havilland Dash 8, an airplane commonly used by regional airlines across Canada and around the world.
Three years ago, Colombian National Police seized an American-owned Dash 8 after it landed in South America. Police said it lacked proper importation paperwork.
Shortly after police seized the plane they sent it for routine maintenance, and the plane's two turbo-prop engines were sent to Vector Aerospace in P.E.I. Vector did the work and had the engines crated and ready to ship.
But last May, while Vector still had the engines, the Florida-based company that originally owned the plane asked the P.E.I. Supreme Court to order Vector to temporarily keep the engines on P.E.I. The Supreme Court agreed, and the engines have remained at Vector ever since.
The lawyer for the Florida company wants the P.E.I. court to extend the order and to declare her American clients the rightful owners of the engines. The Colombians argue the Americans have exhausted all legal avenues in Colombia to recover the plane, so the engines are now Colombian government property.
The lawyer for the Florida company told court her clients have asked the Colombians if the seizure of the plane was related to the drug trade, and the Colombians responded that improper paperwork was the reason.
A lawyer for Vector told court Vector has no ownership claim and will do whatever the court says.
The court will issue a decision in a few weeks.