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Thanksgiving Drug Bust Yields 172 Pounds of Marijuana

(Photo: Trevor T. Trujillo, Townsquare Media)

A 43-year-old man is in custody after authorities seized 172 pounds of marijuana from an airplane he was allegedly the pilot of.

According to an official release from the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, Richard Lierheimer was arrested after an investigation requested by federal authorities following the disappearance of his Cessna aircraft from radar in the Laramie area.

The release says that Laramie dispatch received the call from U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Division (associated with Homeland Security Investigations) at approximately 7 pm Thanksgiving evening, in reference to a “suspicious” aircraft that had left radar detection near Laramie.

Laramie Police responded to Laramie Regional Airport and confirmed that the Cessna had

(Photo: Trevor T. Trujillo, Townsquare Media)

landed at the airport and was, at that time, unoccupied.  A drug sniffing K-9 unit was dispatched to the scene and alerted to the presence of the odor of an illegal substance aboard the aircraft.

Albany County Sheriff’s Deputies and agents from Homeland Security Investigations conducted surveillance of the airport property and obtained search warrants for the Cessna.

A man, identified in the release as Lierheimer- the pilot of the airplane, returned to the airport at Cowboy aviation where he was later arrested.

7 large duffle bags, containing just over 170 pounds of marijuana were recovered from the plane.  The narcotics are estimated to have had a street value of $500,000.

Lierheimer was arrested on charges of Felony Possession of Marijuana and Possession with intent to deliver.  It is said that he was taken into custody without incident and is awaiting initial appearance in court.

Albany County Undersheriff Rob DeBree has advised that the investigation is ongoing.

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