Despite reports that those onboard a plane that crashed in B.C.'s Interior last week were linked to the drug trade, RCMP say they have found nothing in the wreckage linking it to criminal activity.

Some media outlets had reported that a Piper PA24 that crashed en route to Victoria was involved in trafficking, and pilot Rama Tello had been linked to United Nations gang member Elliot "Taco" Castaneda through a photograph of Tello's former roommate posing with the gangster.

But police said Thursday that they found nothing "of police interest" during a search of the wreckage.

‘Apex illusion' could have caused crash

Local aviation experts say the something known as "the Apex illusion" could be to blame for the plane's crash on the side of Apex Mountain -- the mountain's profile on the horizon doesn't reflect how high it actually is.

Matt Fairholm of Southern Aviation teaches pilots how to make the approach up to Apex, a labyrinth of chasms whose sudden height catches pilots by surprise, and which has been the site of crashes for at least a dozen planes in recent years.

"You head directly towards those mountains and those mountains rise a lot faster than you can climb, and the higher you get, the worse your performance gets," Fairholm told CTV News.

"It's like trying to swim up a water fall -- it's almost impossible in most aircraft."

That's why he wasn't surprised to hear that the plane was discovered on the mountainside.

The theory that the plane didn't rise quickly enough is consistent with what Apex Mountain Ski Resort general manager James Shalman saw when he watched the plane take off.

"That's why it caught my eye -- they were staying low. I didn't really think of it again until I saw the news reports," Shalman said.

The plane was eventually located from the air in thick tree cover about eight kilometres south of the resort.

RCMP say they have secured the site, and on Thursday, the coroners service rappelled in to bring all four bodies to Penticton Regional Hospital for an autopsy.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jon Woodward