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To Travel the State, DeSantis Is Using King Air Plane FDLE Seized in a Drug Bust

| January 11, 2019

ron desantis king air

A King Air plane. (Andy Milligan)

Gov. Ron DeSantis made his first trip out of Tallahassee aboard an upgraded King Air aircraft that law-enforcement officials had seized in a drug bust.

Unlike his predecessor, former Gov. Rick Scott, a multimillionaire who could buzz around the state in his own plane, DeSantis entered the governor’s office Tuesday without a vast financial portfolio.

So, a trip from Tallahassee to Miami to announce his first state Supreme Court appointment Wednesday, before shuttling off to Mexico Beach to view hurricane damage, involved him taking the seized aircraft maintained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

“Similarly to them taking me by car, FDLE does have a plane that was seized,” DeSantis told reporters on Monday.

“It’s a drug seizure that’s been upgraded, and it’s their opinion and I think it’s our opinion in terms of being legal, that that is something because they have the responsibility to protect and transport the governor, that that can be used for my transportation,” DeSantis continued. “Now, that’s not going to be like the old state planes where the Cabinet and other people could do it. It flows from their responsibility to protect me.”

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was asked about the aircraft on Wednesday, but information was not immediately available.

DeSantis’ office also did not respond to questions about the aircraft.

Scott, who was sworn into the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, made the state’s ownership of a pair of airplanes and employment of flight crews a campaign issue when he first ran for governor in 2010.

The cost to fly the state planes was more than $3,000 an hour, or about $2.4 million a year. The Department of Management Services accepted a bid for $1.9 million for a state jet and $1.8 million for a prop plane. The governor also ordered the agency to lay off 11 people who worked in the state air pool.

The changes were possible because the Scott’s wealth allowed him to use his personal aircraft.

Owning a plane isn’t an option for DeSantis, who had a net worth of $310,971 as of Dec. 31, 2017.

DeSantis noted that the FDLE takes him everywhere now, which has resulted in him selling a pickup truck.

“I had it forever,” DeSantis said. “But I don’t need it anymore.”

In October, former Gov. Bob Martinez said state aircraft for the governor and other top officials is a must.

“I know it may be controversial in the minds of people, but when you’re up here almost in Georgia and you’ve got go down to Miami, you’re looking at almost 700, 800 miles, you’re just not going to drive it,” Martinez said. “It’s just not going to happen.”

The quickest drive from Tallahassee to Miami is just under 500 miles, and Martinez said it’s important for the governor, Cabinet members and other state officials to have contact with all residents.

–News Service of Florida

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5 Responses for “To Travel the State, DeSantis Is Using King Air Plane FDLE Seized in a Drug Bust”

  1. Keep Flagler Beautiful says:

    Why are you throwing shade on former Governor Scott because: 1. he is a multimillionaire, and 2. he “buzzed around the state” in his own jet. First of all, this is America, land of opportunity, and I don’t know a single person who wouldn’t love to become wealthy and successful, or who doesn’t wish it for their children, as well. Secondly, he saved the taxpayers a bundle by using his own plane. This sounds like some leftover bitterness from the ousting of our former Senator — what was his name? The guy few of his constituents had ever heard of because he was like an apparition? Bill Nelson — that’s it!

  2. Florida state statute says:

    705.105 Procedure regarding unclaimed evidence.—
    (1) Title to unclaimed evidence or unclaimed tangible personal property lawfully seized pursuant to a lawful investigation in the custody of the court or clerk of the court from a criminal proceeding or seized as evidence by and in the custody of a law enforcement agency shall vest permanently in the law enforcement agency 60 days after the conclusion of the proceeding.
    (a) If the property is of appreciable value, the agency may elect to:
    1. Retain the property for the agency’s own use;
    2. Transfer the property to another unit of state or local government;
    3. Donate the property to a charitable organization;
    4. Sell the property at public sale, pursuant to the provisions of s. 705.103.
    (b) If the property is not of appreciable value, the law enforcement agency may elect to destroy it.

  3. anonymous says:

    Sell the plane, and give the State of Florida the money for use where it will benefit the citizens. Why does he need a plane to fly around in? They get into politics to get all these free taxpaying dollars for their personal use. Not right He can always sell the plane and give Trump the money to build his useless wall, after all that his what he campaigned on tv about to build the wall. Give it to your buddy Trump.

  4. tulip says:

    The fact that Scott is ultra wealthy is not the point. It’s HOW he became wealthy–a lot of fraud regarding Medicare.

    I never liked Scott and I’m not sure about DeSantis yet, but he and other officials do need a plane to fly from place to place in Florida and close neighboring states, as they have to be in many different places in a days time.

    So, instead of the state PURCHASING a plane, what’s wrong with refurbishing a plane that was taken away from criminals in a drug bust?. The FDLE got the drugs, the money and a “free airplane” which will be put to good use. I have no objections to that.

  5. mark101 says:

    I have NO issues at all with our Gov using a plane seized from a drug raid for his transportation. Find something else to bitch about.

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