Mexican-American Singer Jenni Rivera Dead in Plane Crash, DEA Investigating Mexican Aviation Company

A Learjet 25 airplane went down in Nuevo Leon, Mexico on Sunday, December 9, killing all seven people onboard. Among those killed in the crash was 43-year-old Latin singer and actress Jenni Rivera.
Early reports said that the private plane nose dived from 28,000 feet and crashed minutes after taking off from an airport in Monterrey at 3:15 a.m. The plane was due to arrive in Toluca at 4:30 a.m., but never made it there. A search party was deployed shortly after and they found the wreckage spread out over an area of about 300 meters. There was no distress call before the plane went down. Also killed in the crash were the plane’s 78-year-old pilot, co-pilot, and four others.

Authorities say the downed Learjet was built in 1969 and had current registration valid through 2015. Starwood Management, the company that owned the plane, made headlines in September when another one of their planes was seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The crash has sparked a probe into the aviation company and the man widely believed to run it, Christian Esquino. Investigators with the DEA recently seized all of Starwood Management’s aircraft and subpoenaed company records.  
In a phone interview with the media, Esquino said he believed the 78-year-old pilot had a heart attack and the “green” copilot couldn’t save the plane from plummeting. Authorities have stated that the cause of the crash is unknown. Esquino also repeatedly told reporters that the downed Learjet was in top-notch working condition, and had just this summer received a full inspection. According to aviation records, however, the very same had a less than stellar safety record. In 2005, the plane suffered a fuel imbalance which transferred 300 pounds to a wing tip, causing the aircraft to strike a runway distance marker during landing. No one was injured in the incident.
The NTSB issued a press release on Monday stating the agency will be sending their own officials to Mexico to assist in the investigation. An official with the Mexican civil aviation agency said a preliminary report on the crash will take at least 10 days to produce.

Rivera, 43, leaves behind five children and two grandchildren, along with an army of
fans in America and Mexico. She sold 15 million records worldwide.
Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman aviation attorney Ilyas Akbari states that “although preliminary reports may attribute the crash to pilot error, there are many other factors generally at play when a charter jet crash occurs. It’s usually not as simple as pilot error, but rather systemic failure on multiple levels, which will be revealed through the investigation.” 
Akbari and the national law firm of Baum Hedlund successfully resolved a case recently arising out of the crash of a Hawker 800 private jet on July 31, 2008 in Owatonna, Minnesota. The crash killed all eight people on board.