The U.S. Customs Service Air Interdiction Coordination center (DAICC), received notification from a park ranger at Big Bend National Park, TX, of an unidentified airplane entering the United States from Mexico. This airplane did not notify U.S. authorities of its arrival. A U.S. Customs Service aircraft was dispatched, and it intercepted the airplane near Alpine, TX. The U.S. Customs Service aircraft followed the airplane on a northeasterly heading for over 8 hours, until arriving in the Detroit, MI, area. The airplane was observed overflying the Detroit Metropolitan Airport and circling over the downtown area, until it descended and crashed into an athletic field. Examination of the wreckage revealed that the airplane was void of fuel. No other anomaly was found. Approximately 408 pounds of marijuana was recovered from the wreckage.
From the NY Times (link above)
A small plane loaded with marijuana crashed in a baseball field tonight, after being followed by Customs Service planes for about 1,500 miles. Residents ran to help, but some fled with bundles of drugs while the pilot was dying, witnesses said.
The pilot apparently ran low on fuel as he attempted to evade his pursuers by reaching Canada, Fire Chief Lee Moore said. Three Customs planes started following the aircraft, which was carrying 300 pounds of marijuana, near El Paso, Texas.
Gloria Johnson, who witnessed the crash on then city’s west side, said the pilot was still alive when neighbors ran to the scene. ”There were big bundles of drugs and money all around the plane,” Ms. Johnson said. ”A couple of guys came to help, then grabbed the bags of drugs and left.”
Posted By: Brett FerrellSunday April 19th, 1998 at 7:34 PM