Medford pot plane pilot gets time served
An Idaho man whose summer 2019 plane crash in a Medford neighborhood sparked simultaneous drug investigations in two states will serve no additional time behind bars for his role trafficking thousands of dollars worth of illicit marijuana extract across state lines.
Mathew William Thompson, 41, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Medford to time served, a year of home confinement, three years of supervised release and 100 hours of community service. He was arrested for possessing with intent to distribute hash oil when he crashed a 1947 Beech 35 Bonanza with a lapsed registration into a tree June 8, 2019, in the 2300 block of Whittle Avenue in Medford.
At about 1:56 p.m. that afternoon, the plane had engine trouble after refueling at the Medford airport, according to documents filed in Thompson’s case and earlier news reports.
Thompson and his passenger, Zachary Wayne Moore, walked away from the crash with only minor injuries; however, almost immediately after crash-landing, the pair ran back to the wreckage, which was leaking fuel, for their cargo.
Medford police and federal agents later found several jars containing more than 3-1/2 pounds of the marijuana extract known as butane honey oil purchased in Cave Junction for $1,500 a pound.
In the days that followed the crash, Boise, Idaho, police issued a search warrant on Thompson’s home, shared with Moore at the time, where police found a marijuana extraction lab.
Moore has previously pleaded guilty to drug charges in Ada County, Idaho, and U.S. District Court in Medford. He served 15 months in prison in Idaho for drug convictions, some of which were unrelated to the plane crash.
Thompson ultimately will have served 42 days in jail, according to Ada County, Idaho, court records. Thompson pleaded guilty June 13 in Ada County District Court to a state charge of possessing hash oil with intent to manufacture or deliver.
Thompson pleaded guilty in February on the Medford-based federal charge and, in early June, was sentenced in Idaho to four years of probation and 100 hours of community service.
U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken sentenced Thompson Tuesday in Oregon to time served, home confinement, supervised release and 100 hours of community service. Aiken allowed community service to be in conjunction with and concurrent with Thompson’s Idaho case requirements. Idaho Department of Correction records show that Thompson satisfied his Idaho sentence June 12; he was released to supervision June 13.
Terms of Thompson’s supervised release include subjecting himself to random searches by federal probation officers, enrolling in a substance abuse treatment or alcohol abuse treatment program, refraining from consuming intoxicants and regular urinalysis testing.
Thompson will have to pay $1,500 in restitution to victims whose vehicles were damaged in the Medford plane crash. The terms prohibit Thompson from directly contacting the two victims in the case.
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