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A Natural High

Garuda Vindicates Expat Co-Pilot Accused of Narcotics Use

(8/11/2013) Garuda Indonesia expatriate co-pilot Viktor Munoz Lopez, widely reported by the State News Agency Antara and other media as grounded after testing positive for psychotropical drugs during random tests carried out by the National Anti-Narcotics Agency (BNN) has been vindicate of any wrong doing.

An independent urine analysis performed by the Siloam Hospital in Makassar, South Sulawesi and the Makassar Prodia Laboratory on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 showed no indication of drug use in the co-pilot's system. This was further supported by an intensive internal review conducted by Garuda under the supervision of an impartial outside team of experts.

Both Medical laboratories and Garuda Indonesia arrived at the same conclusion that Victor Munoz Lopez was free of any traces of psychotropical drugs in his system.

“False positives” for use of the drug can often be traced to the use of prescription drugs used by a person who subsequently tests “positive” for narcotic.

Following the initial tests, later proven incorrect, showing psychotropic drugs in Lopez’s system. Based on the initial test by BNN, Garuda Indonesia took the precautionary step of grounding the Spanish expatriate pilot pending a final resolution of the case.

The chief of BNN for South Sulawesi, police commissioner Richard P. Nainggolan, initially announced that Lopez had tested positive for using narcotics, saying further tests were needed to resolve the case.
Richard Nainggolan later took special pains to tell the press that his office had never confirmed that co-pilot Viktor Munoz Lopez had tested positive for drugs.

A clarification vindicating both Garuda and the pilot was issued during a press conference held in Makassar. Participating in the press conference were the South Sulawesi chief of BNN, Richard Nainggolan; the head of the Police’s narcotics squad, Bambang; Chevy, the police commissioner for South Sulawesi’s narcotics squad; the general manager of Angkasa Pura for Makassar, and the vice-deputy chairman of the Ujung Pandang (Makassar) Airport Authority.

Meanwhile, a vindicated Lopez has returned to his right-hand seat in the cockpit flying scheduled services by Garuda.

Garuda routinely conducts its own “DAMP”(Drug and Alcohol Management Program) that provides for random testing of cockpit crew, cabin crew. Garuda employees found to abusing drugs are summarily relived from service permanently banned from future employment with the National Airline.