SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Bolivian officials said Gustavo Vargas Gamboa, general director of LaMia Airlines, was arrested in the investigation of last week's plane crash in Colombia in which 71 people died.
Vargas Gamboa, a former Bolivian air force general, was arrested after Bolivian prosecutors raided LaMia Airlines' offices in Santa Cruz on Tuesday.
Bolivia's Ministry of Defense said an investigation was launched into alleged traffic of influence between the Directorate General of Civil Aviation government agency and LaMia. Vargas Gamboa is the father of the agency's director in charge of granting operating licenses to airlines, a potential conflict of interest.
Vargas Gamboa's son, Gustavo Vargas Villegas, was suspended last week after LaMia Airlines' operations were also suspended. Officials are also working to definitively determine the cause of the crash in order to establish the possible range of culpability.
Bolivia's Public Prosecutor's Office said prosecutors from Brazil and Colombia will meet in Santa Cruz on Wednesday to "carry out coordinated work ... to arrive at the historical truth of the facts" related to the plane crash.
The LaMia Flight 2933 charter plane headed from Bolivia to Medellin for the championship match of the Copa Sudamericana crashed Nov. 28 into mountainous terrain near Rionegro, Colombia. Most of the victims were members of the Chapecoense Brazilian soccer team -- 19 of which were players and 25 of which were team executives. Six people survived.
On the audio recording, pilots in the cockpit repeatedly told air traffic controllers they were having difficulty controlling the airplane, were experiencing electrical problems and were nearly out of fuel.
Bolivia's Defense Ministry said Miguel Quiroga, the pilot of the doomed plane, was previously arrested for leaving the Bolivian air force to work on private flights. He said Quiroga and four others who resigned to work in the private sector were arrested because their actions went against military regulations, particularly after the government spent $50,000 in training. Quiroga died in the crash.
"We wanted to detain Captain Quiroga. Even more, he was detained and only came out due to a ruling four, five months ago," Defense Minister Reymi Ferreira said.