Thursday, December 14, 2017

Cash sought after suspected drug plane lands at St. Louis Regional Airport (KALN)

EDWARDSVILLE — Authorities are attempting to take possession of $10,000 from a drug suspect who allegedly parked a Cessna aircraft at St. Louis Regional Airport in Bethalto while checking in at a hotel in Alton.

The plane landed at the airport after a drug agent in New Jersey informed Illinois State Police that the plane was leaving an airport in New Jersey and the the owner has been using it to deliver heroin, cocaine and large amounts of marijuana to the New Jersey area.

The agent in New Jersey told an officer with the Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southwestern Illinois that an associate of the aircraft owner is a large distributor of narcotics in the New Jersey area. The New Jersey agent said the plane owner had just delivered a large amount of marijuana to his associate and was in possession of a large amount of cash.

The New Jersey agent also said the two suspects were seen loading several duffel bags and luggage bags into the aircraft prior to leaving.

State police were informed of the plane on Nov. 30, and it landed at the Bethalto airport on the morning of Dec. 1. Details of the case became public Wednesday. Madison County authorities filed suit to obtain the money under a state law enabling forfeiture of assets believed used in the drug trade.

The two suspects told people at the airport that they planned to stay at the Best Western, 3800 Homer Adams Parkway. State police spotted the plane at the airport at 5:30 a.m. Dec. 1 and the suspects said they planned to return about 8 a.m.

Just after the suspects left the airport, a drug dog alerted on the plane. State agents set up surveillance on the Best Western where the suspects were seen in the lobby. Soon after, they were soon seen leaving the hotel in the hotel van. Officers said the van committed two traffic violations, so they stopped the vehicle and got permission from the driver to conduct a drug dog sniff.

The dog alerted, and one of the suspects admitted to having a small amount of marijuana. Officers then searched the luggage in the van and found the cash in a backpack. No drugs were found in the plane, and no charges were filed in Madison County against the two suspects.

Story and comments ➤ http://www.thetelegraph.com

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