Pot-laden plane blows into Obama's air space

WASHINGTON (AP) - Two Air Force F-16 fighters have intercepted aprivately owned Cessna airplane that entered the same Los Angelesairspace as Marine One, the helicopter that was ferrying PresidentBarack Obama. A law enforcement official says police discoveredabout 40 pounds of marijuana inside after it landed at Long BeachAirport. The Secret Service says the president was never in any danger. In a statement, the North American Aerospace Defense Commandsaid it scrambled two F-16 fighters from March Air Reserve Base inRiverside County, Calif., to intercept a Cessna 182 over LosAngeles about 2:30 p.m. EST. The Secret Service says the plane had entered into the sameairspace as Marine One. Officials interviewed the pilot and turnedthe matter over to local law enforcement. CBS/iStock Images

Updated 9:21 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Two Air Force F-16 fighters intercepted a privately owned Cessna airplane that entered the same Los Angeles airspace as Marine One on Thursday as the helicopter was ferrying President Barack Obama.

Police discovered about 40 pounds of marijuana inside the plane after it landed at Long Beach Airport, a law enforcement official said. The official was not authorized to comment publicly on the drug investigation and spoke under condition of anonymity.

The Secret Service said the president was never in any danger.

In a statement, the North American Aerospace Defense Command said it scrambled two F-16 fighters from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, Calif., to intercept a Cessna 182 over Los Angeles about 2:30 p.m. EST.

The Secret Service said the plane had entered into the same airspace as Marine One. Officials interviewed the pilot and turned the matter over to local law enforcement.

President Barack Obama waits to pay for Chinese food from Great Eastern Restaurant in San Francisco, Feb. 16, 2012.
AP
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice said the department's Homeland Security Investigations unit questioned the pilot, who has been turned over to Long Beach police and remains in custody. He will face local prosecution, Kice said.

NORAD spokesman Michael Kucharek declined to disclose how close the Cessna came to Marine One.

The Federal Aviation Administration had notified pilots that there was an eight-mile radius around Los Angeles that was off-limits to air traffic Thursday, spokeswoman Brie Sachse said. It was that radius that the Cessna violated.

Sachse declined to release the Cessna's tail number, saying the agency doesn't identify planes involved in security incidents.

Comments