Officials Dig Into Shady Past of Rivera Plane's Owner

Also, singer's plane had been in 2005 accident

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 11, 2012 8:32 AM CST | Updated Dec 11, 2012 10:49 AM CST

(Newser) – As mourning fans created candlelight shrines to Jenni Rivera in California and Mexico, the AP rounds up post-crash developments, which involve more than a little finger-pointing at the plane's owner, Starwood Management. Officials are apparently diving into the history of the Las Vegas-based firm, which had another one of its planes seized by the DEA in Texas three months ago. And according to one of the company's insurers (which happens to be suing it), the DEA also seized a Starwood-owned Gulfstream when it landed in Tucson from Mexico in February.

The insurer also alleges that the company is owned and managed by someone other than the listed officer: Ed Nunez, who, according to its lawsuit, is also known as Christian Esquino and has a long criminal history including prison time for conspiracy to commit fraud involving an aircraft in Southern California in 2004. Separately, the NTSB notes that the crashed Learjet 25 was substantially damaged in a 2005 accident at a Texas airport in which it hit a runway distance marker after losing directional control. A preliminary report on what happened to the plane is expected to take 10 days to compile. "We're in the process of picking up the fragments and we have to find all the parts," says a rep for Mexico's civil aviation authority.

In this photo released Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, by Indomina Media, shows singer and actress Jenni Rivera during the filming of her upcoming movie Filly Brown.
In this photo released Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, by Indomina Media, shows singer and actress Jenni Rivera during the filming of her upcoming movie "Filly Brown."   (AP Photo/Indomina Media)
Photos and flowers honoring late singer Jenni Rivera, placed by fans next to religious images, are seen at the cemetery where her mother is buried in Hermosillo, northern Mexico.
Photos and flowers honoring late singer Jenni Rivera, placed by fans next to religious images, are seen at the cemetery where her mother is buried in Hermosillo, northern Mexico.   (AP Photo/Baldemar De Los Llanos)
Video cameras and flags used by the forensic experts are unloaded from a helicopter on top of the hill next to the canyon where an airplane crash occurred a day.
Video cameras and flags used by the forensic experts are unloaded from a helicopter on top of the hill next to the canyon where an airplane crash occurred a day.   (AP Photo/Hans Maximo Musielik)
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