Passenger pleads guilty in pot plane crash
One of two men who walked away from a plane crash in a Medford neighborhood last summer has admitted to federal marijuana charges surrounding the thousands of dollars worth of concentrated marijuana extract seized following the crash.
Zachary Wayne Moore, 36, pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Medford to possessing large quantities of hash oil with intent to distribute the drug.
Moore admitted that he and his alleged co-conspirator Mathew Wayne Thompson purchased more than 5-1/2 pounds of butane honey oil June 8, 2019, the same day as the Beech 35 Bonanza they were flying crashed on Whittle Avenue owing to mechanical issues, according to court documents filed in Moore’s case.
Thompson, who piloted the plane, has pleaded not guilty to charges of possessing hashish oil with intent to distribute the drug, along with operating an unregistered aircraft, according to court records. He is scheduled to stand trial in September.
Moore admitted that he and Thompson paid roughly $1,500 a pound for butane honey oil in Cave Junction, according to a document signed by Moore, his defense lawyer Justin Rosas and assistant U.S. Attorney Marco Boccato, who is prosecuting the case.
Moore said they had stopped in Medford to refuel the plane. When they took off again, they’d planned to touch down in Baker County for an overnight stay before flying home to Idaho.
Shortly after takeoff, however, the plane made a crash landing in the 2300 block of Whittle Avenue in Medford.
Moore and Thompson sustained minor injuries. No bystanders were injured in the crash.
Police said they found 5.66 pounds of marijuana extract in the men’s belongings.
Possession with intent to distribute carries a prison sentence of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000, followed by 3 years of supervised release, according to court documents. As part of the plea agreement, federal prosecutors will advocate for “the low end” of any applicable guideline range as long as Moore demonstrates an acceptance of responsibility.
Moore is an inmate in the Idaho Correctional Institution, serving a sentence for Idaho state drug possession charges. An earlier news report stated he was eligible for parole, but U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken ordered Moore stay in prison until he can be sentenced on the federal charge.
Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.