Illegal plane at YupukariAs local investigations continues into the illegal aircraft found at the Yupukari Airstrip, Region Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo), residents have told investigators that the aircraft was seen circling the community days before it was found abandoned.Based on reports from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), the discovery was made following information received by a joint service patrol, including ranks of the Guyana Police Force (GPF), on September 13. The following day, ranks from the GDF and GPF visited the area and conducted a search, during which the twin engine Cessna Aircraft was discovered.The abandoned twin-engine Cessna aircraft found just off the Yupukari Airstrip on Tuesday lastSubsequently, a team of investigators from the GDF, GPF, the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) and the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) was deployed from Georgetown to conduct investigations.A statement from the Ministry of Presidency disclosed that over the past two days investigators have been conducting assessment of the abandoned aircraft to gather evidence that will assist in uncovering the circumstances under which the aircraft came to be abandoned at that location.In fact, a team of high level officials visited the area on Saturday led by Head of CANU, James Singh, and GCAA officials. The team ventured into the area to further assess the aircraft for damages and capabilities to make recommendations on what should be done with it. Guyana Times was told by sources on site, that a leak was discovered in the fuel tank. This, investigators believe, may have caused the aircraft to land in Guyana.However, during interviews with nearby residents, investigators were told that the abandoned aircraft had been sighted circling the area on numerous occasions.Moreover, the residents, a number of whom shared information they deemed ‘suspicious activity’, further reported the presence of motorcycles frequently at midnight in the area. To this end, CANU officials are seeking to determine whether the aircraft may have any links to the narcotics trade. Additionally during a search of the aircraft, several pieces of communication equipment were discovered and have been confiscated to be further examined for any potential leads.Meanwhile, Chief of Staff of the GDF Brigadier Mark Phillips, told this newspaper on Friday that while the team is working ardently to solve the mystery of the abandoned twin-engine Cessna Aircraft, noting concrete has been discovered.“We haven’t found anything concrete so far… but we are looking for anything that will tell us if any cargo was brought in on the aircraft or to lead us to anyone who has a link to it.”On the other hand, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, said that while government is yet to receive a full report on what would have transpired over the last few days, President David Granger and his Government are committed to ensuring that a full investigation is completed.On Thursday, Harmon had told the media that the aircraft bore US registration N-767-Z, however, when checks were made with US authorities, it was revealed that the registration was bogus.“That registration is a US registration, however, subsequent checks by the team from the Guyana Defence Force, Civil Aviation Authority, CANU, and the Guyana Police Force, it was discovered that that registration is a bogus registration. There is another aircraft flying onto (Wednesday) in the United States of America with the same registration number,” Harmon had stated.Furthermore, the Minister of State had disclosed that the aircraft was found hidden in the bushes. “It was off of the airstrip itself and there seemed to have been some kind of a camouflage, kind-of net that was thrown over it and it was partly in the bushes.”Harmon went on to say that while he cannot divulge much information since the probe is ongoing, it appears as though the aircraft has been there quite a few days. However, the Minister noted that it could not have been there longer because the joint service patrols monitor the North and South Rupununi on a regular basis and is in touch with residents of the communities in these areas.