For sale: one used 1959 Piper fixed-wing aircraft. Powder blue in color. Probably should not be used to carry drug-sniffing dog as a pound of crystal meth was aboard at one time.
Remember the plane that was seized at Wings Field in Montgomery County last April 22, when the pilot, James Handzus, was arrested while selling the meth to an undercover detective? We do.
Handzus was convicted of drug law violations after a trial in Montgomery County Court. He’ll be sentenced on Tuesday, April 24.
Today, April 18, Judge Gerald Corso ruled that the plane, named My Lady, must be forfeited. "It is time for Mr. Handzus to kiss 'his lady' goodbye," said Assistant District Attorney James Staerk, head of the Montgomery County District Attorney's Forfeiture Unit.
Staerk said Handzus flew the plane from home in Rifle, Colo., to Las Vegas, Nev., where he bought the meth, then flew the drugs to Wings Field.
Now, just as we were rummaging in the closet for our Bomber jacket a la Amelia Earhart, comes word from DA Risa Vetri Ferman that she aims to sell the thing.
“While the novelty of having an Aviation Unit within the DA's Office is appealing, I doubt there is much realistic use for a plane within our operations,” she said. “We will plan to sell the plane, and make use of the proceeds for narcotics enforcement and investigations throughout the county.”
“I can think of no better way to use proceeds of illegal drug activity than to take these ill-gotten gains away from drug traffickers, and use their prized possessions to take other drug dealers out of commission.”
She said the plane has to be appraised before it is sold, but it could go for $25,000 or more..