A 22-year-old Florida man faces a raft of felony and misdemeanor charges for allegedly attempting to steal an aircraft while carrying 500 grams of marijuana. Police say that the man attempted to elude them by jumping out of a Socata TBM 700 plane’s emergency exit. When officers arrived at the scene, the man reportedly asked them if they could show him how to fly the aircraft.
The search for the man began on June 19 when the owner of a Daytona Beach business reported that one of his trucks had been stolen. He told police that the man, who was a former employee, admitted to taking the truck and promised to pay for it at a later date. The pursuit of the stolen truck led police to a flight school at New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport. When they arrived at the airport, a maintenance worker reported seeing the man in an area inaccessible to the public.
A search of the man’s backpack and person allegedly led to the discovery of almost a pound of marijuana and a glass pipe that is said to have later tested positive for methamphetamine residue. He has been charged with felony marijuana possession, grand theft, trespassing and fleeing the scene of an accident. His bond has been set at $35,000. When questioned by police, the man reportedly said that he managed a marijuana dispensary in California and had purchased the plane for $20,000. The aircraft is valued at about $1 million according to reports.
Felony drug charges carry heavy penalties, but experienced criminal defense attorneys might urge prosecutors to consider mental health treatment rather than incarceration and fines when their clients have behaved in ways that cannot be adequately explained. In these situations, attorneys may recommend that their clients be examined by qualified mental health professionals to determine if they are competent to stand trial.
Source: The Miami Herald, He needed to get his weed to California — so he set out to steal a plane, police say, Isaiah Smalls II, June 24, 2020