Authorities seize plane full of drugs after takedown at Hammond airport
HAMMOND - A private plane loaded with marijuana was seized at a small airport in Tangipahoa Parish after it made a stop in the middle of its cross-country flight.
The Hammond Police Department said the aircraft landed at the Hammond Northshore Regional Airport Wednesday evening. The department said it had received a tip that the plane was heading from California to Miami with a load of illegal drugs.
Police surveilled the landing strip and moved on the private jet after it stopped to fuel up. After getting permission to search the aircraft, officers found duffel bags and suitcases full of suspected marijuana, marijuana vape cartridges and pre-rolled marijuana cigars.
The department estimated the street value of the drugs to be around $750,000 in total. The plane, a Learjet 55, was also seized by the district attorney's office and is pending forfeiture. The total value of the seized items was said to be more than $1.6 million.
A passenger, identified as 40-year-old Leonard Lopez of Miami, was arrested. The two pilots of the aircraft were interviewed and released.