Allegations Concerning Customs Flight Safety

Gao ID: OSI-96-4R January 17, 1996

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO investigated allegations that U.S. Customs Service personnel allowed illegal alterations to general aviation aircraft. GAO noted that: (1) there is no evidence that Customs special agents allowed illegal alterations on general aviation aircraft during certain undercover operations; (2) Customs special agents ordered fixed-base operators (FBO) to change the visual identity of general aircraft and to make certain modifications to aircraft for use in undercover narcotics operations; (3) there is no evidence that Customs special agents acted improperly to impede the Federal Aviation Administration or the Federal Bureau of Investigation from inspecting FBO aircraft; and (4) although Customs agents orally instructed FBO to return the aircraft to their original condition following the completion of undercover operations, the agents did not inspect the aircraft to ensure the changes had been made.

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