Published: 2:26 pm, Wed. Nov. 30th, 2016Updated: 2:24 pm
A pilot who landed at the Roswell International Air Center Friday due to mechanical problems soon had a lot more trouble than a minor aircraft malfunction.
Michael Armando Teixeira, 37, of Gilroy, Calif., was arrested by Roswell police after nearly 118 pounds of marijuana were found aboard the small private plane.
The Roswell Police Department was alerted to the plane’s presence at the local airport around 6:20 p.m. by special agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. When the plane made its emergency landing in Roswell Friday, Federal Aviation Administration officials at the airport discovered it had no flight plan on file.
RPD personnel, including a representative of the Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force, arrived at the air center, located the plane – a Beech J35 – and spoke with the pilot, who was the only person aboard the plane. A smell of marijuana was detected coming from the plane, and a search warrant was obtained.
The search led to the discovery of 117.9 pounds of high-grade marijuana packaged in several large bags inside the plane, which is registered to an individual other than the pilot. Teixeira initially claimed he was flying the plane from California to Texas to visit a friend. However, he had no luggage with him and did not know his exact destination in Texas.
Teixeira later admitted knowledge of the marijuana, which was to be delivered to a location he was to be informed of later.
Teixeira was charged with distribution of controlled substances and is being held at the Chaves County Detention Center. Federal authorities are assisting the Roswell Police Department with the investigation, and the case will be presented for federal prosecution in the District of New Mexico.