December 11, 2012

Investigators comb wreckage in Mexico crash that took singer

E.J. Tamara and Natalia Cano / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

In this photo released Monday by Indomina Media, singer and actress Jenni Rivera is shown during the filming of her upcoming movie "Filly Brown." The film is expected to be released in the spring of 2013.

AP

Besides being a singer, she appeared in the indie film Filly Brown, which was shown at the Sundance Film Festival, and was filming the third season of "I love Jenni," which followed her as she shared special moments with her children and as she toured through Mexico and the United States.

She also had the reality shows: "Jenni Rivera Presents: Chiquis and Raq-C" and her daughter's "Chiquis 'n Control."

Two of her five brothers, Lupillo and Juan Rivera, are also well-known singers of grupero music. Her parents were Mexicans who had migrated to the United States

The Learjet 25, number N345MC, with Rivera aboard was en route from Monterrey to Toluco, outside Mexico City, when it was reported missing about 10 minutes after takeoff.

The cause of the accident has not been determined

The plane was registered to Starwood Management of Las Vegas, according to FAA records, and was built in 1969.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the twin-turbojet was substantially damaged in a 2005 landing mishap at Amarillo International Airport in Texas. It hit a runway distance marker after losing directional control. There were four aboard but no injuries. It was registered to a company in Houston, Texas, as the time.

The company is also subject of a federal lawsuit in Nevada.

QBE Insurance Corp. alleges that a Starwood aircraft was ordered seized by the DEA when it landed in McAllen, Texas, from Mexico on Sept. 12. The New York-based insurer sued in October to rescind coverage for the Hawker 700 jet.

Starwood, in a court filing, acknowledged that the DEA was involved in the seizure of the aircraft.

QBE, based in New York, said the DEA also seized a Starwood-owned Gulfstream G-1159A — insured by another company — when it landed in Tucson from Mexico in February. Starwood said in its court filing that it didn't have enough information to address the allegation.

Nevada secretary of state records list only one Starwood officer — Norma Gonzalez — but QBE alleges that the company is owned and managed by Ed Nunez, who, according to the lawsuit, is also known as Christian Esquino and had a long criminal history.

Starwood rejected the insurer's description of Nunez's role at the company.

According to QBE's lawsuit, Esquino pleaded guilty in federal court in Orlando, Florida, in 1993 to conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine.

QBE said Esquino also served two years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud involving an aircraft in Southern California in 2004. QBE said Esquino's attorney stated in court back then that his client had been under investigation by the DEA for more than a year.

Starwood said in its court filing that it didn't have enough information to address either the Florida or Southern California case against Esquino.

George Crow, an attorney for Starwood, did not immediately respond to phone and email messages left after business hours Monday.

There have been several high-profile crashes involving Learjets, known as swift, longer-distance passenger aircraft popular with corporate executives, entertainers and government officials.

A Learjet carrying pro-golfer Payne Stewart and five others crashed in northeastern South Dakota in 1999. Investigators said the plane lost cabin pressure and all on board died after losing consciousness for lack of oxygen.

Former Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker was severely injured in a 2008 Learjet crash in South Carolina that killed four people.

That same year, a Learjet slammed into rush-hour traffic in a Mexico City neighborhood, killing Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mourino and eight others on the plane, plus five people on the ground.

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)