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U.S. investigators probe drug plane abandoned at Houston-area airport


09:30, November 23, 2011

HOUSTON, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. authorities are hunting for the pilot of a small airplane packed with marijuana that was abandoned at a private corporate airport in the Houston-area, local media reported on Tuesday.

The twin-engine, six-seat aircraft skidded off a runway Monday night at the Houston Executive Airport in west Houston. A large amount of marijuana was found aboard, according to local TV channel KTRK.

Federal investigators were searching the plane Tuesday morning for fingerprints and other evidence. A cell phone and an iPad were found in the plane, which attempted to land at the airport when it experienced front landing gear malfunction and skidded down the runway on its nose on Monday.

Authorities said that there was at least one person, possible two, aboard the plane. It is not known where the drugs were heading.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Homeland Security are investigating the case.

Houston is sometimes used by drug dealers to transport marijuana and cocaine from Mexico to major cities like Atlanta, Chicago and New York, according to a study published by the U.S. Justice Department in 2009.

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