MONMOUTH — An Oregon pilot allegedly unloaded more than 200 pounds of cannabis from a plane at the Monmouth airport Tuesday night.
Sean B. Billingsley, 31, of Jacksonville, Oregon, made a court appearance Wednesday afternoon on a single felony count of possession of cannabis more than 5,000 grams in the Warren County Courthouse. That charge, if convicted, carries a sentence of between four years and 15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections to be followed by two years of parole.
Warren County Assistant State’s Attorney Bijan Partowazam, reading from a police report, said local authorities were alerted to suspicious activity Tuesday night involving an aircraft at the Monmouth Municipal Airport, 1320 N. 11th St. Once there, police saw a man unloading duffel bags from an airplane.
A news release late Wednesday afternoon said Monmouth police along with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and the West Central Illinois Task Force all responded to the airport.
Billingsley admitted to police the bags contained cannabis, Partowazam said, and the contents of the bags field-tested positive for cannabis. Additionally, he had $2,830 and a pistol with him, the news release said.
Further, that same news release said the investigation is “ongoing, as is the consideration of filing additional charges.” Prosecutors have three years from an offense date to file criminal charges against a defendant.
Chief Circuit Judge David Vancil Jr. set the Oregon man’s bail at $250,000, with $25,000 needed to get out of jail, and also appointed him public defender Thomas Siegel. Partowazam had asked for bail to be set at $500,000, with $50,000 needed to get out of jail, because Billingsley is a pilot with access to an aircraft.
Those substances include cannabis, meth and other controlled substances, such as heroin or cocaine.
Further, seizure of such property “will have a significant beneficial effect in deterring the rising incidence of the abuse and trafficking of such substances within this state. While forfeiture may secure for state and local units of government some resources for deterring drug abuse and drug trafficking, forfeiture is not intended to be an alternative means of funding the administration of criminal justice,” the law states.