A Kingsport pilot employed by US Airways has been arrested after allegedly receiving drugs illegally in a FedEx package.
Though an affidavit in Sullivan County court lists the suspect as working for the company, US Airways media relations personnel have declined to confirm or deny his employment. Meanwhile, a Federal Aviation Administration database lists a man by the same name as a certified airline transport and commercial pilot, while the suspect's Facebook page says he's an Airbus 330 captain.
The Sullivan County Sheriff's Office reports Christopher Alan Rumley, 60, of 5701 Cochise Trail, Kingsport, was arrested Wednesday afternoon and arraigned on Thursday. He has been charged with possession of schedule III drugs for resale and bonded out of the Sullivan County jail on Saturday.
An affidavit filed in Sullivan County court states an employee of FedEx, 2165 Highway 75, Blountville, called the Sheriff's Office on Wednesday. The employee advised he had obtained information that Rumley, "was receiving illegally diverted prescription medication through Fed-ex packages."
A search of the package, according to the affidavit, found it contained a jacket and a ziplock baggie, filled with 36 yellow pills. It was reportedly shipped from a freight and cargo company in Greensboro, N.C., with the affidavit naming an individual alleged to have sent it. The pills were later identified as hydrocodone.
The parcel was resealed when Rumley called to report he was coming to pick it up, while a Sullivan County officer responded to wait in the parking lot. When Rumley obtained his package and drove away a deputy conducted a traffic stop.
Police say the officer asked if the package contained pills. Rumley allegedly claimed it contained a jacket, which he had left a friend's house and they had shipped back to him. Consent to search the package was granted, according to police, with the jacket, pills and a note found inside.
The affidavit says the note reads, "you owe $120, I gave you 20 or 25 last time for $40. Don't worry about the fed ex bill just send some 'Tussipax.'"
Vice officers at both Sullivan County and Kingsport police report being unfamiliar with the drug. A web search indicates it's a tablet containing codeine, available over-the-counter in some European countries.
In an April column from Times-News columnist Trease Carpenter, Rumley claimed to fly the route from Charlotte, N.C., to Madrid, Spain. His Facebook page says he's originally from Greensboro, N.C., and captains flights to Western Europe.
Along with the drug charge Rumley was charged with a seatbelt violation in the traffic stop. He has a court date set for Nov. 29.