SELLERSBURG IN Nov 11 2011 — A 71-year-old Alaskan pilot is facing felony charges after he was caught with 200 pounds of marijuana at Clark County Regional Airport in Clarksville, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed in Clark County Superior Court No. 2 on Thursday.
Allen P. Richter, of Ketchikan, Alaska, was charged with two counts of class C felony dealing marijuana and class D felony maintaining a common nuisance.
The Indiana State Police received information on the evening of Nov. 4 that U.S. Customs officials had tracked a suspicious aircraft on radar from Arizona to Indiana. The plane originally departed from California, but suspicions were raised when its flight plan changed.
Trooper Nathan Abbott arrived at the airport with K-9 Kilo to search the aircraft at 9:50 p.m. Kilo gave a positive alert for the odor for narcotics on the right side of the plane. The state police petitioned for a search warrant, which was granted by Judge Joe Weber at 11:50 p.m.
In the back seat of the aircraft, police found three duffle bags containing more than 30 pounds of high-grade hydroponic marijuana. In the storage area behind the passenger compartment, seven large bags of marijuana were found. The total amount was weighed at 195 to 200 pounds, according to the report.
Richter was staying overnight at the Ramada Inn in Sellersburg, and police set up surveillance at the hotel. Detective Dave Mitchell followed the suspect as he drove to the airport.
According to the report, Richter provided only “limited information about his involvement in the suspected marijuana smuggling.”
Richter admitted the aircraft was stolen, according to police. The tail number listed in court records is assigned to a 1962 fixed-wing single-engine Piper PA-24-250. The plane was registered in June to another individual in Ketchikan.
The police investigation is ongoing. Richter is expected to appear in Clark County Superior Court No. 2 on Monday. He is being held on $100,000 cash-only bond.
He faces two to eight years if convicted of a class C felony and six months to three years if convicted of a class D felony. No attorney has filed an appearance in the case.