By Thomas Garcia: Freedom New Mexico
New Mexico State Police are investigating a Monday night “controlled crash” of a plane filled with more than 400 pounds of marijuana.
NMSP Lt. Cleo Baker said the plane landed in a field south of Tucumcari. The pilot, identified as a 34-year-old man from Louisville, Ky., was traveling to an unknown location when he landed the fixed wing plane on ranch land a half mile off of State Road 209 in Quay County, according to an NMSP press release.
Baker said no arrests have been made.
The land 14 miles south of Tucumcari where the crash occurred belongs to rancher Gerald Hight, said Quay County Sheriff Joe Schallert.
“Gerald told me he heard, then saw, a plane flying low over his home with their landing gear down and no lights on,” Schallert said.
Schallert said the plane continued eastbound from Hight’s house toward state Highway 209. He said the plane then turned around and crashed in a field 500 yards from Hight’s home.
“It was a controlled crash,” Schallert said. “The landing gear had collapsed under the plane.”
Schallert said Hight and his son drove out to the crash to see if anyone needed help. He said two men were walking around the plane and asked for a ride into town.
“Gerald said there were a lot of duffle bags behind the front seats of the plane but he did not think anything about it at the time,” Schallert said. “He is very fortunate that the two men did not harm them.”
Schallert said Hight gave the two men a ride to a motel in Tucumcari and noticed they began to act suspicious. After dropping them off at the motel, Hight parked his vehicle and watched as the two men left to a second motel across the street, the sheriff said.
“That prompted Gerald to call central dispatch who then contacted me,” Schallert said. “One of my deputies made contact with one of the men and he was acting suspiciously.”