72-Year-Old Pot Pilot Sentenced


A 72-year-old pilot was sentenced Tuesday after he pled guilty to felony drug charges and “maintaining a common nuisance” associated with landing an aircraft with 200 pounds of marijuana on board. Allen Richter had been tracked as he flew a 1962 Piper PA-24-250 Comanche from Arizona to Indiana, where he was apprehended on Nov. 5. Richter is not the registered owner of the aircraft and told police it was stolen. The septuagenarian’s adventure earned him a sentence of seven years jail time, thanks in part to other considerations.

Officials say the flight originated in California and had Maine as its ultimate destination, but the flight plan had been changed more than once. At Clark Regional Airport, Indiana, Richter was met by an Indiana state police trooper and K-9, Kilo. The dog alerted for narcotics, a search warrant was issued, and police found three duffel bags that contained 30 pounds of marijuana stored in the back seat of the aircraft. The baggage compartment held seven bags of marijuana, which, combined with the back seat stash, added up to the 200 pounds total. Prosecutors estimated the cargo at roughly $450,000. The judge noted Richter’s age, poor health and admission of guilt in his sentencing. But he also noted Richter’s 2004 conviction for nearly the exact same thing.