Pilot And Passenger Arrested And Charged With Possession With Intent To Distribute Marijuana
CBP Air Interdiction Met Plane When it Landed in Lubbock
LUBBOCK, Texas — Two men, who flew into Lubbock and arrived at Lubbock Aero on Wednesday evening, April 17, 2013, Michael Gallanter, 48, and Ethan Oliver Wynne-Wade, 31, have been arrested and charged in a federal criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Both men, residents of San Francisco, California, made their initial appearance in federal court this afternoon, before U.S. Magistrate Judge E. Scott Frost, who ordered them detained pending hearings set for next Wednesday, April 24, 2013. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to the complaint filed, law enforcement received intelligence that Gallanter filed a flight plan from Northern California to Atlanta, Georgia. Gallanter traveled as the pilot along with passenger Wynne-Wade on a Piper PA28-181 aircraft; the aircraft appeared to have been rented by Gallanter. The aircraft departed California on April 17, flew to the Page, Arizona, area to refuel and arrived at the Lubbock Aero airport at approximately 10:00 p.m. to again refuel.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air Interdiction agents met Gallanter as he deplaned and per their request, Gallanter provided them with the appropriate flight paperwork. The plane was then searched by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and CBP Air Interdiction, as well as officers with the Lubbock Police Department (LPD) and the LPD’s canine unit. Several duffel bags that contained approximately 98 bundles of marijuana, four bundles of hash and two bundles of mushrooms, containing Psilocin or Psilocybin, were located in a compartment near the rear of the aircraft.
A federal criminal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offense charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The U.S. Attorney’s office has 30 days to present the matter to a grand jury for indictment. The penalty for the charged offense is up to 20 years in federal prison, a fine not to exceed $1,000,000 and a term of supervised release of at least three years up to life.
The investigation is being conducted by ICE HSI, CBP Air Interdiction, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Lubbock Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey R. Haag is in charge of the prosecution.