Jenni Rivera Update: Plane Owner Denies Drug Connections
The Mexican businessman whose company owns the luxury jet that crashed, killing Jenni Rivera earlier this month, is denying reports that he had been previously involved in drug trafficking in the U.S.
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Christian Esquino, who heads business activities for Starwood Management, has become the subject of multiple media reports following the Dec. 9 plane crash. His legal troubles were documented in an ABC News report, including his 2005 conviction on charges of "creating false and fictitious logbooks" for six aircraft that he had purchased from the Mexican government and sold to U.S. buyers (a charge he now denies), as well as drug trafficking charges a decade prior.
"The DEA has been investigating me my whole life," Esquino told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "They can investigate me all they want, and they can investigate Starwood all they want, but they're not going to find anything."
The 50-year-old Esquino also said that Rivera had been considering a purchase of the Lear Jet that crashed Dec. 9 for $250,000. The fatal flight was offered as a test ride.
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"She was a very nice lady, and I'm very sad that this happened," he said, though he had no information regarding the cause of the crash. "It's a terrible accident."
Esquino's checkered legal history dates back to the late 1980s in what he describes as a witch hunt.
"The DEA has destroyed my business, they have destroyed my reputation. That's how they win," he said. "They can't get me on drug conviction because they have nothing on me, but they destroy my life in the meantime."