Venezuela's military confirmed that it shot down over the Caribbean Sea a small civilian plane believed to be carrying drugs.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino on Friday defended the military's action saying the plane had entered Venezuela's airspace without permission and didn't respond to orders to land immediately. He said the plane was heading from Central America and taken down 25 nautical 15 miles from the coast near the island nation of Aruba.

He didn't provide any information about those who were on board.

Venezuela has shot down a number of suspected drug-trafficking planes in recent year, mostly over the western portion of the country.

The country is a major transit zone for cocaine coming over the border from Colombia en route to the U.S. and Europe.