Border Officers Find Smuggler With 40 Pounds of Pot -- Flying Over Arizona

Usually, Customs and Border Protection officers are catching ever-creative drug smugglers as they attempt to get their product through a port at the border.

This time, though, the Office of Air and Marine -- part of Customs and Border Protection -- caught the stash in the air, as a pilot took his small plane and 40 pounds of weed across the state of Arizona.

CBP says that the incident began a couple weeks ago, on May 13, as the officers started tracking a suspicious airplane that flew across Nevada, landing in Tonopah, Nevada.

To add to that suspicion, an officer noted that the pilot of the Cessna 172, whose name wasn't released, paid for his refuel in cash and had a whole lot of luggage in the plane.

The agency found that the plane had some expired paperwork and scrambled its own plane out of Tucson to intercept the Cessna, which flew across Arizona, and landed near Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The CBP's airplane essentially pulled over the suspect plane, and -- like in any other traffic stop -- busted the suspect for not having current registration. In addition, a K9 unit hit on the plane, leading to the discovery of the 40-pound weed stash.

To the yet-unnamed pilot's credit, he was at least stealthier than the guy who got caught doing this last year. Then, a San Luis Obispo, California, man flew his plane into airspace that had been restricted for Air Force One, as President Obama was flying to Los Angeles.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley