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Pot plane was on MADGE's radar before Medford crash

Before it crashed in the middle of a northeast Medford neighborhood, an Idaho plane with lapsed registration was being monitored by local narcotics officers.

The Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement task force had been conducting surveillance on the 1947 Beech 35 Bonanza airplane at the time it crashed into a tree the afternoon of June 8 in the 2300 block of Whittle Avenue, according to the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program’s latest “HIDTA Times” quarterly newsletter. MADGE is a partner agency in the Oregon-Idaho chapter of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s HIDTA program, which fosters support and communication between law enforcement agencies in the two states.

The newsletter details about the arrests of the Boise pilot, Mathew William Thompson, and passenger Zachary Wayne Moore, who both survived the crash landing with minor injuries, and were arrested the day of the crash on drug trafficking charges, as well as contained a pair of photos of the plane wreckage from the crash investigation.

MADGE detectives had been conducting surveillance on the aircraft prior to the crash on suspicion that the aircraft had been “transporting large quantities of marijuana across state lines,” the newsletter said.

The newsletter detailed what MADGE seized in the wake of Thompson and Moore’s arrests: 5.65 pounds of the concentrated marijuana extract known as butane honey oil, 10 doses of LSD that allegedly belonged to Moore and $1,658 cash.

Four days after the plane crash, Boise police seized “marijuana extraction equipment and a lab,” from Thompson’s home in cooperation with MADGE, according to the newsletter. Earlier news reports referred only to a “suspected drug manufacturing operation” at Thompson’s home in Boise’s upscale North End neighborhood.

Jackson County Circuit Court records show that Thompson and Moore’s charges were dismissed Aug. 15 because the local case is being prosecuted at the federal level.

Thompson and Moore are each charged in U.S. District Court with possessing a Schedule I controlled substance — specified as marijuana in the form of hash oil — with intent to distribute it, while Thompson faces an additional charge of operating an unregistered aircraft related to the delivery of a controlled substance.

Thompson and Moore’s drug charges in Ada County, Idaho, Magistrate Court are still pending, court records show.

Ada County court records show Thompson and Moore each face two counts of manufacturing or delivering a controlled substance and a misdemeanor charge of using or possessing drug paraphernalia. Thompson pleaded not guilty on the Idaho charges last month, posted a $30,000 bond Aug. 29 and has a three-day jury trial scheduled for Jan. 28.

Moore was arraigned Monday on the drug charges, but has not yet entered a plea, court records show. A plea hearing is scheduled for Oct. 7.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

Pilot Mathew William Thompson and passenger Zachary Wayne Moore, both of Boise, face federal drug charges in the wake of the June 8 crash in Medford. Oregon-Idaho{ } HIDTA photos.
Crews respond to a plane that crashed into a tree on Whittle Road June 8 in Medford.{ } Mail Tribune file photo by Andy Atkinson.