NEW CASTLE (KDKA/AP) — Authorities say a Utah man who was allegedly transporting marijuana worth $1.2 million in a plane was caught at a Lawrence County airport.
Ken Barton Burrows, 53, of Orem, Utah, was charged last Friday after the Federal Aviation Administration monitored his cross-country flight.
Police say Burrows was delivering 242 pounds of high-grade marijuana to Rhode Island.
Burrows allegedly employed a zig-zag course at low altitude that avoided radar and large airports.
“Homeland Security had been notified by the FAA,” said Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa. “They scrambled a Blackhawk helicopter to intercept the plane when it landed, and as soon as he touched down, they blocked the runway. Agents then got off the helicopter and began asking Mr. Burrows some questions. Based upon his answers to those questions they decided it was important to get law enforcement officers out there.”
Burrows refused a search at first, so authorities brought in a drug-sniffing dog and found so much marijuana on the plane, the only other thing that could fit on board was the pilot.
Once in custody, Burrows cooperated with Homeland Security who then zeroed in on getting everyone connected to the load.
Authorities then flew the plane belonging to Burrows on to its final destination.
“We allowed Mr. Burrows to be in a separate helicopter to meet the plane at the final destination,” said Lamancusa. “Once they touched down, Mr. Burrows then got into the plane, completed the transaction with the target in Rhode Island and he was arrested there.”
No attorney was listed on court papers, and authorities are trying to settle who has jurisdiction in the case.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 19.
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