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Suitcases Full of Cash On Plane (New Mexico)
ABQ journal ^ | 12/5/03

Posted on 12/05/2003 8:16:14 PM PST by knak

A tip from an Albuquerque aircraft charter company led Moriarty Police to an airplane with an unusual cargo— suitcases full of more than $1 million in cash.

Moriarty Police Chief Bobby Garcia said the two currency-filled suitcases seized from an airplane at the city's airport on Nov. 27 weighed more than 300 pounds. They contained $1,169,896, Garcia said Wednesday.

No arrests have been made in the ongoing investigation.

The events that led to the cash seizure began when a private plane requested an emergency landing at the Moriarty Municipal Airport due to engine problems around noon on Thanksgiving.

Garcia said Kamlesh Rana, 34, of Connecticut was piloting the 1978 Piper six-seater airplane. Rana told police he was instructed by his supervisor, Carlos Cruz, who owns the Piper aircraft, to fly his passenger from New Jersey to Arizona.

According to the flight plan, Rana and his passenger, Yuri Folks, 31, were traveling from New Jersey with a final destination of Glendale, Ariz., Garcia said.

Once the plane landed in Moriarty, however, Rana could not restart the plane. Garcia said Rana then called Bode Aviation in Albuquerque to request a charter for him and his passenger.

Bode Aviation refused to comment on the events that took place. However, Garcia said the dispatcher at the aviation company became suspicious when Rana told her he had one passenger, whose name he did not know, and 300 pounds of cargo.

After speaking to Rana, the Bode dispatcher phoned Moriarty Police to alert them of her suspicions, Garcia said.

Officers arrived on scene and separated the pilot and passenger for questioning, he said. Neither knew the other's name.

"It was odd that the pilot did not know the name of the passenger, since they had been flying together from New Jersey," he said.

Officers requested permission to search the aircraft and asked if there was anything on the plane they should know about. Both men denied there was anything unusual on the plane, removed their personal belongings and agreed to the search.

Once their items were removed a large suitcase remained in the rear cargo area. Folks and Rana both denied that the suitcase belonged to them.

Police removed the suitcase from the airplane, opened it and discovered, "a substantial amount of cash wrapped tightly in cellophane," Garcia said. At that point police requested assistance from the Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI, Garcia said.

A drug-sniffing dog from the State Motor Transportation Department was brought to the scene to search the aircraft, Garcia said. He said the dog "hit on the plane's front cargo compartment," directly behind the engine. Another suitcase filled with cellophane-wrapped cash was discovered in the front cargo area.

Garcia said no narcotics were found on board the airplane or in either of the suitcases. However, he said the suitcases could have residual narcotics on them, which would alert the drug-sniffing dog.

The money has been kept in a local Moriarty bank since being confiscated. It will be turned over to the FBI as evidence, Garcia said.

Bill Elwell, spokesman for the FBI in Albuquerque, said the pilot was questioned by FBI agents and released.

Folks, however, was not in possession of the necessary documentation to be in the United States, and it has been determined that he is here illegally, said Leticia Zamarripa, public information liaison for the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection in El Paso. "He is being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at this time," Zamarripa said.

The FBI believes Folks may be a citizen of Jamaica. Elwell said a judicial process will determine what happens to the money unless one of the parties involved can prove it is legally theirs and they have a reason for having it.

"Can it be legal cash? I don't know," Elwell said. Elwell said there is nothing illegal about carrying, or transporting, large sums of money. However, it is highly suspicious.

He said "nine times out of 10 we are thinking (in these situations) that this could be drug money."

Elwell said he could not comment further due to the pending investigation of the case.

The questioning of the pilot when he tried to rent another plane was routine, according to aviation officials.

Thomas Linn of A-1 Executive Jet Worldwide Charter in Scottsdale, Ariz., said if someone phoned in to request a charter and was not one of the company's regular customers, some preliminary checking would be conducted over the phone.

"We would do some checking for verification of address, passenger list, and (ensure) all passengers are in possession of a current, valid U.S. government-issued identification card," Linn said.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Arizona; US: Connecticut; US: New Jersey; US: New Mexico
KEYWORDS: 200311; 20031127; aircraft; airportsecurity; aliens; assetforfeiture; bodeaviation; carloscruz; cash; cruz; ctcell; folks; homelandsecurity; illegals; jamaica; kamleshrana; money; newjersey; njcell; rana; smuggling; wod; yurifolks
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1 posted on 12/05/2003 8:16:15 PM PST by knak
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To: knak
Darn Vicente Fox can't buy another gated estate.
2 posted on 12/05/2003 8:18:22 PM PST by cyborg (mutt-american)
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To: knak
Probably drug money destined for the bank account of the DNC Chair, The Honorable Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico. ::eyeroll::
3 posted on 12/05/2003 8:19:45 PM PST by DesertDreamer
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To: knak
It's messed up that we live in a society where the authorities automatically go after a suitcase full of cash, regardless of whether it is known to be involved in anything illegal. I'm wondering what the threshold of suspicion is, that is, how much cash can I carry without being detained by the gendarmes on suspicion of drug smuggling?
4 posted on 12/05/2003 8:22:13 PM PST by squidly
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To: DesertDreamer
Right on, Buddy. The ironic thing is that this money probably came straight from Rush Limbaugh's pockets.
5 posted on 12/05/2003 8:25:16 PM PST by GoodThinking
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To: knak
A drug-sniffing dog from the State Motor Transportation Department was brought to the scene to search the aircraft, Garcia said. He said the dog "hit on the plane's front cargo compartment," directly behind the engine. Another suitcase filled with cellophane-wrapped cash was discovered in the front cargo area. Garcia said no narcotics were found on board the airplane or in either of the suitcases. However, he said the suitcases could have residual narcotics on them, which would alert the drug-sniffing dog.

Do you get the feeling they train these dogs to sniff out money just so they can say it is drug money?

I feel so much safer now that it is a crime to carry large amounts of cash. < /sarcasm >

6 posted on 12/05/2003 8:29:14 PM PST by Between the Lines ("What Goes Into the Mind Comes Out in a Life")
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To: knak
Good thinking started on 10/26/2003. ZOTTTTTTT!!!
7 posted on 12/05/2003 8:31:58 PM PST by Coroner
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To: knak
. . . weighed more than 300 pounds . . .

Obviously small bills, lots of ones. Fifty thousand $20s wouldn't weigh anywhere close to 300 pounds. Never heard of a big time drug dealer conducting his transactions in one dollar bills. Give Rana back the money from his laundromat biz and leave the poor man alone!

8 posted on 12/05/2003 8:33:06 PM PST by LibWhacker
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To: squidly
I carried a million dollars in cash in the back of my car
one time. (I notified the Police and asked for an escort)
No problems at all.
tbird1
9 posted on 12/05/2003 8:33:48 PM PST by tbird1
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To: GoodThinking
Huh?
10 posted on 12/05/2003 8:33:58 PM PST by Ramius
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To: squidly
Well in my case my money would have been in my bag, which I would have been carrying (I carry a big purse:') and there would have been a fight to get it but they would not have had any doubt about who it belonged to.
11 posted on 12/05/2003 8:34:45 PM PST by CindyDawg
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To: squidly
Nobody onboard the aircraft claimed it was theirs.

I'm sure that if someone, anyone, would step forward and claim the cash, the Feds would love to speak to them and give them their money.

Until then, unfortunately, it must remain in the custody of the state for safekeeping. We can't have the wrong people get it, you know?
12 posted on 12/05/2003 8:36:44 PM PST by VeniVidiVici (There is nothing Democratic about the Democrat party.)
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To: tbird1
I carried about 600K in bearer bonds to a bank once. I let them know what was coming and that when I got there I was gonna be armed for bear. They didn't have a problem with it.
13 posted on 12/05/2003 8:37:17 PM PST by Ramius
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To: squidly
"It's messed up that we live in a society where the authorities automatically go after a suitcase full of cash, regardless of whether it is known to be involved in anything illegal."

Does give one cause to wonder, though:

1. Just how did either or both of these schlubs amass all this cash?

2. Or, alternatively, just how did two suitcases full of swag find their way onto this plane full of innocents?

In either event, one would have probable cause to suspect foul play was involved, I suppose. Unless Rana or Folks one had just emptied his mattress...

14 posted on 12/05/2003 8:38:20 PM PST by okie01 (www.ArmorforCongress.com...because Congress isn't for the morally halt and the mentally lame.)
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To: cyborg
Last week in Texas a truck carying frozen dinner roles was caught heading to Mexico with over $5,000,000. It took the authorities 12 hours to count.

The suit case weighed 300 pounds and contained over $1,000,000. It makes you wonder what denominations this money is in.

Agree, times are hard for V. Fox. The remittances may be a little less this month.
15 posted on 12/05/2003 8:38:28 PM PST by texastoo (What a Continent!!! (sarcasm))
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To: VeniVidiVici
I'm sure that if someone, anyone, would step forward and claim the cash

They should have give me a ring.

16 posted on 12/05/2003 8:38:40 PM PST by squidly
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To: Ramius
Its obvious that Rush had to pay for his drugs.
17 posted on 12/05/2003 8:39:01 PM PST by ocean
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To: LibWhacker
Oops . . . Seems I dropped a zero while doing my arithmetic. Fifty thousand dollars in $20 bills might very well weigh 300 lbs! Lock him up and throw away the key! </sarcasm>
18 posted on 12/05/2003 8:39:20 PM PST by LibWhacker
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To: Between the Lines
It's not a crime to carry lots of cash. It is a crime however to smuggle proceeds of illegal transactions. Seems to me that sufficient reasonable suspicion was developed in this case.
19 posted on 12/05/2003 8:40:54 PM PST by Ramius
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To: Coroner
A hibernating troll like Pedantic Lady perhaps? hmm....
20 posted on 12/05/2003 8:41:15 PM PST by cyborg (mutt-american)
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To: Between the Lines
Do you get the feeling they train these dogs to sniff out money just so they can say it is drug money?

It has been proven that almost all currency has at least traces of illegal drugs on it

There is little doubt that we all have carried around money that has been in the pocket of a crack dealer at some point.

So if you have what the cops decide is "too much cash" they just call it drug money

21 posted on 12/05/2003 8:41:47 PM PST by WackyKat
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To: ocean
Cute, but oxycontin doesn't cost that much.
22 posted on 12/05/2003 8:42:25 PM PST by Ramius
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To: Coroner
Coroner started on Feb 6, 2003. ZOTTTTTTT!!!
23 posted on 12/05/2003 8:42:40 PM PST by xrp
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To: WackyKat
It reminds me of that guy who was arrested for drugs and won a lottery ticket. They took it away because he had no income so it was concluded that he bought it with drug money. A dollar!
24 posted on 12/05/2003 8:45:30 PM PST by CindyDawg
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To: WackyKat
It has been proven that almost all currency has at least traces of illegal drugs on it

It might be a fun idea, but there isn't enough on ordinary bills to make a drug sniffing dog alert.

25 posted on 12/05/2003 8:46:58 PM PST by Ramius
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To: squidly
Here's something you might try. Buy a roundtrip ticket anywhere leaving and returning as soon as possible. Let's assume you buy a ticket from Houston to Nashville with a three hour stay in Nashville then right back to Houston. I promise a federal agent of some sort will approach you at the airport and ask you if you have a large sum of money. And if you have $5,000 or more in cash say goodbye to your money. That's what America has bome to. Suspicion is cause enough to confiscate your stuff.
26 posted on 12/05/2003 8:49:42 PM PST by Terry Mross
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To: knak
It was some perfectly innocent spare cash I had in a suitcase that went astray yesterday. I want it back.
27 posted on 12/05/2003 8:52:35 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Terry Mross
Woah... that happens to me all the time. Now I guess I know why.

Don't get me wrong... I'm the in the "no" WOD camp. But that doesn't mean I have to have sympathy for the cartel crowd.
28 posted on 12/05/2003 8:54:08 PM PST by Ramius
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To: squidly
In this case the authorites didn't check into the two because there was cash involved. They checked into the two because the company alerted them that there was a private plane being flown by a pilot who didn't seem to be aware of what his passenger's name is.

If you don't see anything suspicious about a pilot who flies cross country with one passenger yet doesn't even know the guy's name, carrying a suitcase which doesn't- according to the pilot and passenger- belong to them, then you wouldn't see anything suspicious about an Arab inquiring into flight lessons but not showing any interest in landing procedures.

And a simple check confirmed the passenger is an illegal. I'd say the authorities had pretty good reason to be suspicious.

And this is BEFORE the suitcase was found to have cash in it.

This is hardly a case of 'just the cash' being the trigger for an investigation, though with planes, cash and illegals involved this could as easily be a terrorist case as a drug case.

29 posted on 12/05/2003 8:56:25 PM PST by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: LibWhacker
Fifty thousand dollars in $20 bills . . .

Darnit! That should be: Fifty thousand $20 bills. Is it bedtime? I'm makin' a mistake a minute here. Goodnight all.

30 posted on 12/05/2003 9:00:12 PM PST by LibWhacker
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To: Ramius
It's not a crime to carry lots of cash.

Tell that to the judge after your cash is confiscated. (Remembering that asset forfeiture is a civil process and not criminal: you lack certain rights and must prove your innocence, while the government has a lower burden of proof.)

Is possession of cash a crime?

31 posted on 12/05/2003 9:05:27 PM PST by coloradan (Hence, etc.)
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To: VeniVidiVici
I'm sure that if someone, anyone, would step forward and claim the cash, the Feds would love to speak to them and give them their money.

No, if it's over $10,000 the feds could steal it anyway without due process, unless they were to charge you with a crime. You would have to sue to get it back.

32 posted on 12/05/2003 9:06:54 PM PST by BlazingArizona
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To: knak
"Another suitcase filled with cellophane-wrapped cash was discovered in the front cargo area."

Sometimes I think they train these dogs to sniff out cellophane not drugs or cash. I guess if you are going to be smuggling drugs or cash, it would be wise to use fresh cellophane/plastic bags, not something that you had your ham sandwich in earlier. On an unrelated note, just recently, along the US-Mexico border, 80 lbs. of illegal bolonga was seized. I bet that dog pissed himself when he found that. Thats probably the biggest illegal bolonga seizure this year. I guess customs hit the mother-load.
33 posted on 12/05/2003 9:07:57 PM PST by TexNotMex
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To: knak
There was an article not to long ago about a truck being stopped and it was full of millions of dollars.

I wonder if it could be money coming in to fund terrorist cells here in the U.S.

34 posted on 12/05/2003 9:16:56 PM PST by Spunky (This little tag just keeps following me where ever I go.)
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To: BlazingArizona
No, if it's over $10,000 the feds could steal it anyway without due process, unless they were to charge you with a crime. You would have to sue to get it back.

Ah, but you see then we would be reading a different story. :-)

An innocent person would scream bloody murder that the cops are stealing their money under asset forfeiture laws. And, then, if the guy is Jamaican as mentioned in the story? Profiling would get thrown around, "flying while black" would be bantied about the liberal press, etc.

Fortunately, for the feds, this money isn't owned by anybody.

35 posted on 12/05/2003 9:23:38 PM PST by VeniVidiVici (There is nothing Democratic about the Democrat party.)
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To: Ramius
It has been proven that almost all currency has at least traces of illegal drugs on it

It might be a fun idea, but there isn't enough on ordinary bills to make a drug sniffing dog alert.

That explains the failure of my attempts to get high by licking my money.

36 posted on 12/05/2003 9:54:06 PM PST by WackyKat
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To: knak
Kamlesh Rana? Yuri Folks?
37 posted on 12/05/2003 9:57:12 PM PST by arasina (I can't believe I said that.)
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To: VeniVidiVici
I admit it, it's mine. Let's talk.
38 posted on 12/05/2003 10:00:18 PM PST by Hegemony Cricket (What's so strange about the bookkeeper from Goodlettsville, Tennessee?)
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To: Ramius
But scientists say the test the police rely on is no test at all because drugs contaminate virtually all the currency in America.

Over a seven-year period, Dr. Jay Poupko and his colleagues at Toxicology Consultants Inc. in Miami have repeatedly tested currency in Austin, Dallas, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, New York City, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Syracuse. He also tested American bills in London.

"An average of 96 percent of all the bills we analyzed from the 11 cities tested positive for cocaine. I don't think any rational thinking person can dispute that almost all the currency in this country is tainted with drugs," Poupko says.

Scientists at National Medical Services, in Willow Grove, Pa., who tested money from banks and other legal sources more than a dozen times, consistently found cocaine on more than 80 percent of the bills.

"Cocaine is very adhesive and easily transferable," says Vincent Cordova, director of criminalistics for the private lab. "A police officer, pharmacist, toxicologist or anyone else who handles cocaine, including drug traffickers, can shake hands with someone, who eventually touches money, and the contamination process begins."

Cordova and other scientists use gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy, precise alcohol washes and a dozen other sophisticated techniques to identify the presence of narcotics down to the nanogram level one billionth of a gram. That measure, which is far less than a pin point, is the same level a dog can detect with a sniff.

What a drug dog cannot do, which the scientists can, is quantify the amount of drugs on the bills.

Half of the money Cordova examined had levels of cocaine at or above 9 nanograms. This level means the bills were either near a source of cocaine or were handled by someone who touched the drug, he says.

Another 30 percent of the bills he examined show levels below 9 nanograms, which indicates "the bills were probably in a cash drawer, wallet or some place where they came in contact with money previously contaminated."

The lab's research found $20 bills are most highly contaminated, with $10 and $5 bills next. The $1, $50 and $100 bill usually have the lowest cocaine levels.

And what happens to the mountain of "drug-contaminated" dollars the government seizes each year? The bills aren't burned, cleaned, or stored in a well-guarded warehouse.

Twenty-one seizing agencies questioned all said the tainted money was deposited in a local bank - which means it's back in circulation.
39 posted on 12/05/2003 10:18:57 PM PST by I'll be your Huckleberry (`)
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To: I'll be your Huckleberry
Beat me to that amazing fact, Doc Holliday. Good work.

What's the big mystery? Just another load of cash from George Soros on its way to a "progressive" Democratic politician. "Nothing to see here...move along."
40 posted on 12/05/2003 10:53:16 PM PST by NewRomeTacitus (Refuses to buy into the dogma of self-delusional political correctness.)
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To: knak
This sounds like that movie, KNOCKAROUND GUYS...anyone see it?
41 posted on 12/05/2003 10:54:40 PM PST by Hildy
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To: squidly
It's messed up that we live in a society where the authorities automatically go after a suitcase full of cash, regardless of whether it is known to be involved in anything illegal. I'm wondering what the threshold of suspicion is, that is, how much cash can I carry without being detained by the gendarmes on suspicion of drug smuggling?

Are you naturally that ignorant or have you been indoctrinated into that state of mind?

42 posted on 12/05/2003 11:09:24 PM PST by EUPHORIC (Right? Left? Read Ecclesiastes 10:2 for a definition. The Bible knows all about it!)
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To: GoodThinking
Right on, Buddy. The ironic thing is that this money probably came straight from Rush Limbaugh's pockets.

Nah. Just an interest payment on Clinton's latest payola round.

43 posted on 12/05/2003 11:11:07 PM PST by EUPHORIC (Right? Left? Read Ecclesiastes 10:2 for a definition. The Bible knows all about it!)
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To: knak
and it has been determined that he is here illegally, said Leticia Zamarripa, public information liaison for the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection in El Paso.

Our country is so infested with people that are here illegally.

It is f-ing out of control.......

44 posted on 12/05/2003 11:18:22 PM PST by Joe Hadenuf (I failed anger management class, they decided to give me a passing grade anyway)
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To: DesertDreamer
How do you post at 8:47pm Eastern on 5Dec and not sign up until 6Dec03?
45 posted on 12/05/2003 11:33:16 PM PST by leadpenny
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To: I'll be your Huckleberry
I wonder if they tested the bank teller with the sniffles who transacted the cash to be tested.
46 posted on 12/05/2003 11:49:01 PM PST by Cvengr (0:^))
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To: wardaddy
Penny for your thoughts.
47 posted on 12/05/2003 11:57:21 PM PST by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: arasina
Kamlesh Rana? Yuri Folks?

Yeah - I think those are both historically considered Norwegian names, or perhaps Swedish. ;-)
48 posted on 12/05/2003 11:57:50 PM PST by geopyg (Democracy, whiskey, sexy)
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To: Travis McGee
A nickle for yours.
49 posted on 12/06/2003 12:01:20 AM PST by onyx
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To: onyx
I think the published flight plan and the intended flight plan were not one and the same.
50 posted on 12/06/2003 12:10:29 AM PST by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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