The plane, owned by the Medellin-based company Aero Capital, took off from Colombia’s biggest airport March 18 and went missing while en route over the Uraba region in the northwestern part of the country.
Aero Capital did not report the plane lost until three days later, local media reported.
Police and the Prosecutor General’s Office made the arrests after analyzing surveillance footage from the airport.
Newspaper El Tiempo reported that the plane was stolen by drug traffickers connected to drug lord Alejandro Jimenez, alias “Palidejo,” who specializes in transferring cocaine from Colombia to Central America. The connection was finally made after the capture of seven of Palidejo’s henchmen.
The case led to criticism of security measures at Colombia’s largest airport, but missing planes remain a wider problem for the nation’s air transport industry.
Drug traffickers steal on average 14 planes each year, according to Radio Caracol investigation published in April.