Six passengers and five crew members have been detained.
A Calgary photographer is currently under house arrest in the Dominican Republic after more than 200 kilograms of cocaine was found on board an aircraft heading to Toronto.
Brittney Wojcik-Harrison is among six passengers and five crew members who were detained in the country after packages of cocaine were found on board a plane owned by Toronto-based Pivot Airlines.
Five crew members discovered "suspected contraband" in a maintenance compartment of the plane on April 5, Pivot told Narcity. Authorities in the Dominican Republic confirmed they had seized 200 packages of what is believed to be cocaine inside the plane.
According to a GoFundMe set up by Wojcik-Harrison's family, she was meant to be returning from her vacation in the Dominican Republic when the drugs were found, leading to all passengers and crew being detained.
Wojcik-Harrison is now in a safe location, but is not allowed to leave the country while the investigation is ongoing, her family added.
In a statement to Narcity, a spokesperson for Pivot Airlines said it is "entirely unacceptable" that Canadian citizens could be detained for reporting criminal activity, adding that prosecutors have "no evidence tying them to a crime."
"Together with international unions representing the crew, we are cautioning Canadian travellers and more than 70,000 airline employees to seriously consider the risks of travel to the Dominican Republic. If reporting a crime in the Dominican Republic could result in arbitrary detention, the government must seriously consider issuing a similar travel advisory," they continued.
Pivot Airlines added while they are grateful for the support from the Government of Canada to improve the safety of its crew, "the simple fact is that they have not done enough to safely return our crew to Canada."
"They miss their families. They fear for their lives, as well their mental and physical wellbeing. And they want to come home."
Sabrina Williams, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, told Narcity that Canadian officials are monitoring the situation closely, and "are engaging with local authorities, and providing consular assistance."
No further information can be disclosed for privacy reasons, Williams added.
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