More than two years after his fellow flyer committed suicide, a Canadian pilot who landed in Eastern Oregon with nearly 1,000 pounds of weed on board was sentenced today to four years in prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken ordered Harvey Gabel
to turn himself in to the Bureau of Prisons on Jan. 28, 2010, to serve his term. Gabel, 60, is a resident of Langley, B.C.
According to a news release
(PDF) from the U.S. Attorney's office, Gabel and another pilot, Brian Lindroos
, landed a twin-engine Cessna in Burns on Nov. 19, 2005, after crossing the Canadian border without authorization or a flight plan.
Police drove to the Burns Municipal Airport and found the two men standing at the fuel pumps. A strong smell of marijuana prompted the cops to search the plane, where they found 995.6 pounds of pot stacked to the ceiling.
According to authorities, the weed was worth $2.4 million. They also seized 270 grams of cocaine, two laptops, four cell phones, two GPS systems and thousands of dollars in Canadian and U.S. currency.
In a sad footnote to the "war on drugs," Lindroos was indicted as a co-defendant, but he was found in April 2007 in a wooded area on Sumas Mountain in British Columbia, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
(The photo above is of a random twin-engine Cessna and is not intended to depict the plane Gabel and Lindroos were flying.)