Pilot arrested in drug bust says he didn't know what was on board
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Ethan Oliver Wynne-Wade, 31, stood before Federal judge Nancy M Koenig this afternoon to face charges of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, but officials said no decision was reached.
Authorities say Ethan Oliver Wynne-Wade and Michael Gallanter, 48, flew into Lubbock and arrived at Lubbock Aero last Wednesday evening, April 17, around 10 p.m. to refuel their airplane. Law enforcement officials received intelligence that the plane was on its way from Northern California to Atlanta, Georgia and met the plane at Lubbock Aero.
Gallanter rented and was piloting the Piper PA28-181 aircraft, and officials asked him to get out of the plane and show them appropriate paperwork. He did exactly that, but the plane was searched and law enforcement agencies found 98 bundles of marijuana totaling 200 pounds, four bundles of hash totaling 10 pounds and two bundles of hallucinogenic mushrooms totaling three pounds that were hidden in a compartment in the back of the plane. Federal officials were not able to comment on a value of the drugs seized.
Gallanter told federal officials a guy he met at a coffee shop in California asked him to deliver the cargo to Atlanta and after he agreed, he picked up the duffle bags in the coffee shop parking lot. He said no payment arrangements had been discussed according to the arrest affidavit.
Both men face a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000. U.S. Gallanter will have his detention hearing next week.
Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration and Lubbock Police Department were all involved in the bust and are continuing the investigation. Federal authorities said they could not comment until the two men have been prosecuted.
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