STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - What began as a probe into a plane crash in Stone County is now a narcotics investigation. A Cessna 206 went down Thursday evening. By Friday, one person who was on board that plane was facing a drug charge.
As bad as the wreckage looked, some Stone County residents were amazed to find out no one was seriously hurt. Many people came to get a closer look at the plane that snapped tree limbs and power lines before crash landing on the side of Oilwell Road.
A pilot and two passengers were on the plane when it went down. Law enforcement officials said the stories the men told investigators prompted them to take a closer look at the crash site.
"Based on the information from the pilot and the individuals that were in the plane, it didn't seem to be the normal routine for a normal flight," said Capt. Jay Green, with the Stone County/Wiggins Narcotics Task Force. "They were coming from Texas headed over to Mobile, and with their indicators and their statements, we asked for a canine to come check the plane. We had a positive alert with the canine."
After getting a hit from the dog, investigators from the Stone County/Wiggins Narcotics Task Force went through the luggage on the plane.
"There was pills in the plane, in the luggage. There was a few capsules on the ground that had pills in it," said Green.
Investigators charged Jeff Franklin, 34, of Sherman, TX, with possession of a controlled substance hydrocodone. Franklin was a passenger in plane.
Authorities said Franklin does not have a prescription for hydrocodone and the pills were found in a container for an antacid, which is illegal.
Narcotics investigators said they also found thousands of dollars in cash in the form of $100 bills. The pilot and the other passenger are still in the hospital with what authorities said are non-life threatening injuries. Officials said the investigation into who owns the pills continues.
Meanwhile, the FAA was also at the crash scene on Friday. Stone County Sheriff's deputies said the wreckage will be taken to an airport hangar on Saturday so investigators can take a closer look at the plane. However, FAA officials said while they investigate to see if any federal regulations were violated, it will be the National Transportation Safety Board that makes the determination on what caused the accident.