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Pilot of crashed plane pleads guilty to pot charge

Crews respond to a plane crash June 8, 2019, on Whittle Road in Medford. The plane’s pilot, Mathew William Thompson, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to a federal charge for trafficking hash oil. [Mail Tribune/file photo]

A Boise, Idaho, man pleaded guilty Monday to a federal marijuana charge stemming from an incident in which he crashed a plane in an east Medford neighborhood in 2019.

Mathew William Thompson, 41, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Medford to possessing a Schedule I controlled substance with intent to distribute, admitting he had more than 3-1/2 pounds of hash oil when he crashed a 1947 Beech 35 Bonanza into a tree the afternoon of June 8, 2019.

According to the plea agreement, a charge of operating an unregistered aircraft in furtherance of a drug crime was dropped.

Thompson admitted that he and passenger Zachary Wayne Moore were flying to Baker City with 1.686 kilograms of the marijuana extract butane honey oil destined for Boise. Shortly after refueling in Medford, the plane crashed due to engine trouble in the 2300 block of Whittle Avenue.

Moore has pleaded guilty to charges surrounding his role in the incident that led to the crash, and he served 15 months in prison on Idaho drug charges unrelated to the Medford case.

Three vehicles were damaged on the ground in the plane crash, and Thompson and Moore were able to walk away with minor injuries.

As terms of the agreement, Thompson will repay two victims $1,500 for “out-of-pocket expenses related to the destruction of the vehicles as a result of the crash.”

The crime carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison, 2 years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.

Federal prosecutors said they will seek a sentence within federal sentencing guidelines, “including a sentence at the high end of the applicable guideline range,” according to the plea agreement.

Thompson still faces charges in Ada County, Idaho District Court on a felony controlled substance charge surrounding an alleged butane honey oil lab Boise police found while searching Thompson’s home June 12, 2019. A court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 14, but a jury trial scheduled for later this month has been canceled.

Thompson is separately scheduled to stand trial in Idaho Feb. 17 for a misdemeanor charge of violating a protection order, Idaho court records show.

Thompson’s criminal history includes a 2006 conviction for misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure and negligent driving in Ada County Magistrate Court surrounding an incident Jan. 9, 2004.

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.