Pilot who crashed plane hauling drugs & cash appears in federal court

BANNING, Calif. - A pilot arrested after a liquid form of marijuana and a large amount of cash were allegedly found aboard a Cessna following a hard landing at Banning Municipal Airport was transferred to federal custody on Friday. And on Monday he made his first appearance in court. 

Alex Furman, 24, of Corona was behind the controls of a Cessna 210 that tipped onto its nose and struck a fence at the airport on the afternoon of April 24, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Furman escaped serious injury, the FAA reported.

Furman wasn't asked to enter a plea on Monday but was ordered detained and is being held without bond. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 22 and his arraignment is planned for May 24. 

Investigators found about $500,000 in cash and 32 jars of concentrated cannabis oil on the plane, according to court documents. He was charged last week by the Riverside County District Attorney's Office with possession of more than $100,000 obtained from a transaction involving a controlled substance, possession of marijuana for sale and transportation of marijuana for sale.

However, his case with county prosecutors was dismissed when he was transferred into federal custody.

Representatives from the U.S. Attorney's Office could not be immediately reached for comment on what federal charges Furman is now facing.

5/4/17 - District Attorney's Office lists cargo pilot had on board of crashed plane: 

According to court documents, the Riverside County District Attorney's Office is requesting that the pilot in last week's plane crash at Banning Municipal Airport be held without bail.

Watch: Video shows crashed plane being towed from runway

The Riverside County D.A.'s  office filed a declaration in support of increased bail for 24-year-old Alex Furman, the declaration states that Furman crashed his airplane in the city of Banning and was found to be carrying an estimated half a million dollars in cash and 32 jars of honey oil/concentrated cannabis. The Honey oil was over 1 kg in weight and over one quart in volume.

Furman declined to make a statement about the money or honey oil.

The DEA was notified of this case and the United States District Attorney will be prosecuting this case. It is unknown how much money Furman has.

Watch: Video shows crashed plane being towed from runway

In the declaration, the Riverside County's D.A.'s office asked that Furman remain in custody until the case is transferred to United States District Attorneys Office. 

Furman was charged with 3 counts which include unlawfully possessing money over $100,000 and negotiable instruments that had been obtained as a result of unlawful sale, possession for sale, transportation, and manufacture of a controlled substance which is a felony.  Along with 2 other misdemeanor drug charges. 

More Crime Headlines from around the Coachella Valley 


Original Story 04/27/17:

A 24-year-old man has been arrested on drug charges after crashing a small plane at the Banning Municipal Airport on Monday, officials announced Thursday.  

Deputies said Alex Furman of Corona was booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center. The investigation is ongoing and authorities haven't released many details at this point. More details are expected as the investigation unfolds, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. 

KESQ and CBS Local 2 will deliver updates about the charges as soon as we hear back from the sheriff's department. 


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