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News

More Info About the Guy Who Flew a Plane Full of Pot in No-Fly Zone During Obama's LA Visit

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Photo by Gunnar Pippel via Shutterstock
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A Solvang man is facing criminal charges for piloting a small plane carrying marijuana through restricted airspace over Los Angeles during President Barack Obama's recent visit. Brian J. Choppin, 43, was "was booked on suspicion of possession of marijuana for sale and transportation of the drug, both felonies," explains L.A. Now. He was taken into custody by police in Long Beach after two NORAD U.S. Air Force F-16 jet fighters joined him in the skies and escorted his four-seater single-engine Cessna to Long Beach Airport.

Once on the ground, authorities took a look at the aircraft, and "found what they described as a large amount of marijuana on board." They won't say just how much, though, saying that's because the incident remains under investigation.

Choppin, who is already out on bail, could "face up to three years in prison on the possession allegation and up to four years on the transportation count." He could also lose his pilot's license. Choppin's brazen flight, however, was determined to have not been of any threat to Obama.

Why Choppin opted to take his plane up at that time, and if he was aware of the airspace restriction, remains unknown.