Feds raid charter flight company

Associate arrested on weapons charge in case tied to fatal Ketchikan jet crash

Posted: Friday, February 03, 2006

ANCHORAGE - Federal authorities on Thursday raided a charter flight company connected to the fatal crash of a military-style jet in Ketchikan and arrested a company associate on a weapons charge.

Robert F. Kane is linked to Security Aviation Inc., whose Anchorage operations and a hangar in Palmer were shut down during the searches led by the FBI. Federal officials said they could not immediately determine if Kane was actually employed by the company.

Also searched was the office of Anchorage attorney Mark J. Avery, the sole shareholder who took over Security Aviation last summer.

Kane, 37, was arrested at his Eagle River home for failing to register an explosive device, which authorities identified as a rocket pod launcher used for firing live rounds, according to the FBI. Agent Eric Gonzalez refused to elaborate, and charging documents filed in U.S. District Court were sealed, according to the federal court clerk's office.

Gonzalez declined to say if the rocket pod launcher was recovered.

Kane was being held without bail by federal marshals, said James Goeke, an assistant U.S. attorney.

Gonzalez said he could release few details because the investigation was continuing.

"There is no connection to terrorism," he said, referring to agents from the FBI's joint terrorism task force and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement who participated in the search.

Gonzalez and other officials emphasized that the arrest and searches also had no connection to the Jan. 25 crash of a Czech-made Albatros L39, a military-style jet owned by a civilian company. The pilot was killed and six people on the ground were injured when the jet crashed into a Ketchikan mobile home park.

The plane was among several ordered by Security Aviation for possible purchase, according to Gonzalez.

Also present during Thursday's searches were representatives of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service criminal investigation division, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, U.S. Marshals Service, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Alaska State Troopers.



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