180 pounds of marijuana found in plane at Vernal Airport

Posted at 6:12 AM, Nov 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-13 13:51:46-05

VERNAL, Utah — An Idaho man was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly landed a plane containing an estimated $480,000 worth of marijuana at the Vernal Airport.

Uintah County Sheriff Jeff Merrell said deputies responded to the airport after his agency received a tip that an aircraft containing drugs was about to land.

Deputies approached the pilot, who was identified as 56-year-old Randall Patrick Watson, of Meridian, Idaho, upon landing.

Officers from the Naples and Vernal police departments, Adult Probation and Parole officers and FBI agents also responded to the scene for assistance.

According to a press release from the Uintah County Sheriff’s Office, a drug detection dog from the Naples Police Department indicated there were drugs on the plane.

Officers conducted a physical search of the plane and found about 180 pounds of marijuana packed in plastic bags, the press release said.

Watson was taken to the Uintah County Jail, where he faces various drug charges.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing, Merrell said in a statement Wednesday morning.

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