LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. - A tip about a suspicious aircraft in Decatur led police to the discovery of 38 pounds of marijuana. Officers arrested the man flying the plane, and took the drugs and airplane into custody.
The Vice Narcotics Unit of the Decatur Police Department received information about a suspicious aircraft flying into Pryor Regional Airfield on December 8. (Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct date of the arrest as Friday, December 8, not Saturday, December 9)
Investigators observed a 1967 Beech Craft V35A as it landed at the airfield around 3:45 p.m. Authorities approached the pilot, Yevgeny Faktorovich of Sausalito, California, for a pilot certification inspection after the plane came to a stop.
Officers say that Faktorovich immediately became extremely nervous and kept glancing back towards the passenger's compartment of his aircraft. K-9 Officer Greg Rutherford and K-9 Baron arrived on scene and performed an air sniff around the aircraft. Baron indicated the presence of narcotics inside the plane.
Authorities detained Faktorovich and obtained a search warrant for the aircraft. Investigators discovered a large garbage bag, a suitcase, and a black plastic storage bin full of marijuana. Each container had 12 to 15 plastic baggies containing anywhere from half a pound to two pounds of marijuana. The combined weight of the marijuana totaled over 38 pounds.
Authorities estimated that the drugs have a street value of $120,000 - $160,000. "It's quite unusual for a local municipal law enforcement agency to encounter such a take," said Decatur Police Chief Nate Allen
Authorities seized the marijuana and the aircraft was seized by Homeland Security pending condemnation proceedings in Federal Court.
Faktorovich was charged with one count of trafficking in cannabis and transported to Limestone County Jail on a $100,000 bond that has since been paid.
Federal Authorities were notified and further charges could be pending.