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New bail hearing set for Guelph pilot in Dominican Republic

Accused of smuggling cocaine, Rob Di Venanzo and crew to learn Aug. 26 if they'll be returned to jail
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Capt. Rob DiVenanzo of Guelph, bottom left, is among five Pivot Airlines crew members being detained in Dominican Republic.

A Guelph pilot and his crew are set to find out later this month if they’ll be sent back to jail to await trial on allegations of cocaine smuggling in the Dominican Republic. 

Eric Edmondson, CEO of Pivot Airlines, confirmed to GuelphToday a bail revocation hearing for Rob Di Venanzo and others initially planned for last month has been rescheduled to Aug. 26.

Edmonson insists the crew has been “arbitrarily detained” and not formally charged in relation to the roughly 200 lbs of cocaine seized by police in the Caribbean nation in early April. Drugs he says a crew member discovered and reported to authorities, leading to the seizure and arrests of everyone onboard.

Reports of the crew’s treatment in jail include being kept in crowded cells measuring 13 feet by 13 feet, undergoing numerous threats and extortion attempts from inmates, deprivation of food and water, and being limited to the area around a hole in the floor used as a toilet.

The crew was granted bail but prosecutors are seeking to have it revoked, Edmonson previously explained. The issue was set to be heard on July 21 but that was adjourned and rescheduled to later this month.

Edmonson and union leaders representing the crew have been publicly calling for federal government assistance in the case, but the CEO said there’s “no new updates.”