NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – A North Salem pilot was allegedly transporting 55 pounds of high-grade marijuana when he landed his plane for mechanical adjustments and refueling at a rural Iowa airport on Feb. 19, according to a criminal complaint released last week [on Feb. 21].
When an airport officer asked to see Angelo Efthimiatos’ general aviation documents and pilot’s license, Efthimiatos said he could not find them, according to the complaint.
K9 Officer Bret Sorrells from the Washington, Iowa, Police Department had his drug detection dog sniff around the aircraft, and the response was positive, according to the complaint.
Homeland Security agents arrived at the airport later and advised Efthimiatos of his Miranda rights.
Efthimiatos, 43, admitted that he was transporting the contraband from California to the East Coast, according to Drug Enforcement Administration Officer David M. Hoagland.
Efthimiatos said that others had loaded the marijuana onto the plane and his plan was to unload it in the east, where someone else would retrieve it, Hoagland said. He added that Efthimiatos said this was his fourth or fifth drug running flight.
The marijuana was estimated to have a value of $4,000 or $5,000 a pound on the East Coast.
Efthimiatos was charged with possession with the intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, both felonies.