Two men were recently arrested at the Oakland County Airport after they were allegedly caught trafficking 200 pounds of marijuana in a twin engine Cessna aircraft. They were apparently delivering the drugs to Michigan from Lincoln, California. According to reports, authorities were alerted because the two men were making so many trips between California and Michigan.
Lincoln, California is known for illegal marijuana growing operations. Workers in a control tower noticed the frequent flying pattern from Lincoln to Oakland County, and an enforcement aviation specialist alerted Homeland Security.
The two men are from New York. Their trial is scheduled to begin in late May.
According to aviation insiders, it is becoming increasingly popular to transport drugs by air. There are hundreds of small airports across the country, and everyday small private planes fly in and out of them. In most cases, these airports have little to no security making it easy for pilots to move drugs.
Furthermore, it is significantly less dangerous and much easier to transport drugs by air than by car. Driving thousands of miles with illegal drugs in the car opens drivers up to the possibility of multiple run-ins with law enforcement. In the air, transporters are essentially isolated from the police.
Individuals caught transporting drugs will likely need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Transporting drugs across state lines carries unique complications and often heavy penalties. An attorney can prepare an aggressive defense against the charges while ensuring an individual's rights remain protected throughout the entire process.
Source: WDIV, "Large marijuana operation foiled at Michigan airport," Feb. 22, 2012