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Arizona flight instructor arrested in cocaine smuggling operation

May 15, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Arizona flight instructor arrested in cocaine smuggling operation

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Authorities have arrested an Arizona flight instructor in Seward County, Kansas in a $2 million dollar cocaine smuggling operation after he was busted last Wednesday in Liberal, Kansas.

Patrick Williams, 51, and Ricardo Lopez, 26, have been charged with distributing cocaine and conspiring to distribute, along with several other charges, KWCH12 reported.

On Wednesday, the Kansas Bureau of Investigations announced that they, along with Homeland Security, received information that led them to a suspicious plane involved in the cocaine smuggling operation arriving at the airport in Liberal.

The Seward County Sheriff’s Office helped with meeting the plane on the tarmac and apprehending those inside. Williams and Lopez were taken into custody and authorities confiscated 144 pounds of cocaine along with the aircraft.

Plane involved in the drug smuggling operation was seized by authorities (KWCH)

FAA records indicate that the 1970 Beech 70 Queen Air fixed wing multi-engine airplane was recently bought and an application to register it is “in progress.”

A photo of the plane also appears on Williams’ Facebook page.

FAA records also indicate that Williams Aviation Arizona LLC is listed in an Other Owner Names section of the aircraft’s registration status.

On his web page, Williams claims he’s a commercial contract pilot, certified flight instructor, and ground instructor. He stated that he began his pilot training while in the Air Force Academy in Colorado and he had his first solo trip in the 1980’s.

A criminal investigation revealed that Williams was convicted on two counts of fraudulent schemes from crimes he committed in 1994 in Arizona. In 2011, he was also convicted of Illegal Control of Enterprise and Unauthorized Computer Software Use.

On Friday, Williams’ mother spoke with FactFinder 12 about the seizure. She indicated that she was unaware that it even happened. She referred to Williams as a polite man who was a good Catholic. She knew something was wrong, she stated, when she didn’t hear from her son. She said he sends her a message every morning and she hadn’t received one since Tuesday. He was working on his aeronautical engineering degree, and she said she was shocked at the news.

Both suspects appeared in court on Friday, and bond has been set at $2 million dollars for each.

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