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Pilot and Passenger of Plane That Crashed in Yoakum County Plead Guilty to Drug Charges

Justin Sullivan,Getty Images

Two people that crashed an airplane at an area airport have pleaded guilty to drug charges.

Sacramento, California resident Gregory Thomas, the 55-year-old pilot of the airplane, and 66-year-old Dorothea Cangelosi of Waller, Texas, each pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana and aiding and abetting.

On April 30th, 2013, deputies with the Yoakum County Sheriff’s Department responded to a plane crash at the Yoakum County Airport in Plains, Texas.

The deputies found a Beechcraft Bonanza A36 plane that had belly landed in a field around 50 yards past the end of the runway.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, on the day before the crash, Cangelosi flew on a commercial airline from Houston to Sacramento, California, where she met up with Thomas, a charter pilot. Thomas was paid about $5,000 cash to fly her from Sacramento back to Houston.

They left Sacramento during the early morning hours on April 30th, and landed in Plains to refuel. After refueling, the plane encountered engine problems when attempting to take off and crashed.

Yoakum County Sheriff’s Deputies received a 911 call from a person who reported seeing a woman with bags by a road that runs parallel to the airport. Later, deputies found four large duffel bags that were hidden next to a bush more than 100 yards from the crash site.

Deputies discovered 151 individual packages of marijuana with a total weight of 160 pounds.

They both admitted that they had intended to distribute the marijuana to other individuals in Houston.

Both Thomas and Cangelosi face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine. They remain on bond pending sentencing.

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