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Narcotics
04/19/2013

Pilot and passenger arrested after landing in Lubbock, charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana

LUBBOCK, Texas — Two men, who flew into Lubbock Aero airport Wednesday evening, were arrested and charged in a federal criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Michael Gallanter, 48, and Ethan Oliver Wynne-Wade, 31, both residents of San Francisco, Calif., made their initial appearance in federal court Friday. U.S. Magistrate Judge E. Scott Frost ordered both men detained pending hearings set for April 24. These arrests and charges were announced by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

According to the criminal complaint, law enforcement received intelligence that Gallanter filed a flight plan from Northern California to Atlanta, Ga. Gallanter traveled as the pilot along with passenger Wynne-Wade on a Piper PA28-181 aircraft; the aircraft appears to have been rented by Gallanter. The aircraft departed California April 17; flew to the Page, Ariz., area to refuel; and arrived at the Lubbock Aero airport at about 10 p.m. to refuel again.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Air and Marine Operations agents met Gallanter as he deplaned. 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's Air and Marine Operations, as well as officers with the Lubbock Police Department (LPD) and LPD's canine unit. Several duffel bags were located in a rear compartment of the aircraft that contained about 98 bundles of marijuana, four bundles of hashish, and two bundles of mushrooms, containing Psilocin or Psilocybin, which illegal psychedelic compounds.

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 million, and a term of supervised release of at least three years up to life.

This investigation is being conducted by HSI, CBP's Air and Marine Operations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Lubbock Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey R. Haag, Northern District of Texas, is in charge of the prosecution.