PONTIAC -- Three people may face federal drug-trafficking charges after police found more than 300 pounds of marijuana in a small commuter plane Monday afternoon at Pontiac Municipal Airport.
Two men and one woman were taken into federal custody after Pontiac police located a twin-prop Beechcraft, which landed at the airport around 3:12 p.m., and detained them, said Pontiac police Maj. Jim Woolford.
The plane was privately owned by someone in Texas, Woolford said, and the origin and destination of the plane are not yet known. The two passengers, one man and one woman, were from California, Woolford said, and the home of the pilot is unknown. The identities of the suspects were not released.
Pontiac police were acting on a request from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which Woolford said had been tracking the plane. The plane landed under unusual circumstances as information to its takeoff location and destination may have been fraudulent, Woolford said in a news release.
After a Pontiac police dog alerted authorities to the presence of drugs inside the plane, between 300 to 350 pounds of marijuana were found in bales wrapped in plastic, Woolford said. He said the drugs could be worth up to $1,000 a pound.
The three suspects were detained by the local department, and officers from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service arrived by jet shortly after.
The suspects were believed to be taken into federal custody in Springfield, said Woolford.
He said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Illinois State Police were involved in the investigation, which is ongoing.