Tulsa pilot arrested after 100 pounds of meth found on plane at Jones Riverside Airport
A Tulsa man is accused of drug trafficking after more than 100 pounds of methamphetamine was discovered on a plane he landed at Jones Riverside Airport, according to a court document.
Badlands Justice McNally, 30, is facing federal complaints manufacturing, distributing, dispensing or possessing with intent to distribute a controlled substance and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He was booked into the Tulsa County jail and was being held in lieu of $35,000 bond, according to jail records.
“Badlands McNally flew 100 pounds of methamphetamine into Tulsa and was apprehended thanks to the coordinated law enforcement work of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security Investigations, Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office and the Tulsa Police Department,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.
“This arrest exemplifies why partnerships among federal, state and local law enforcement are a force multiplier. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel-lyn McCormick will lead the prosecution of McNally. Together this team continues to hold accountable those individuals and organizations who transport and traffick illicit drugs into northeastern Oklahoma.”
Investigators were alerted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations Center on Tuesday that a plane was heading to Tulsa from Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and requesting that Homeland Security conduct a pilot certification inspection, according to an affidavit filed in the Tulsa-based U.S. District Court for Northern Oklahoma.
Investigators saw the plane land at Jones Riverside Airport about 8 p.m. and found that it was piloted by McNally, officials reported in the affidavit. They started a pilot certification inspection, and McNally gave them his pilot credentials. While the credentials were being verified, investigators asked him where he was coming from.
He said he came from Watonga after visiting his family but did not say he had been at Lake Havasu City first, according to the affidavit. Investigators asked why he did not say he was at Lake Havasu City, but he could not provide an explanation, according to the affidavit.
McNally reportedly became defensive and agitated, and investigators asked whether anyone had asked him to transport anything for them.
McNally declined investigators’ request to search the plane, the affidavit says.
Before investigators could finish explaining that they were not “overly concerned” about marijuana, McNally said, “It’s probably not marijuana in there,” according to the affidavit.
“I don’t want to get my head chopped off,” he reportedly added.
After that, a Tulsa police officer had a police dog sniff the plane in a search for drugs, and the dog pointed them in the direction of the cargo door, according to the affidavit.
Investigators opened the cargo door and found two duffel bags containing what he recognized as meth, according to the affidavit.
They also found a Norinco 7.62×39 rifle with multiple loaded magazines, a .45-caliber Ruger pistol with two magazines, and a Glock pistol, the affidavit says.
Agents arrested McNally, who said in an interview after the arrest that he had made seven or eight similar trips, according to the affidavit. McNally reportedly told investigators he never looked in the bags because he didn’t want to know what was in them.
McNally said he was paid between $7,000 and $12,000 to make the flights, the affidavit says. He said he would fly money and guns from Tulsa to airports in California, and then return with the duffel bags; he said he intentionally used different airports to avoid detection, according to the affidavit.
Jones Riverside Airport, located in south Tulsa near Jenks, had nearly 200,000 takeoffs and landings in 2018 and serves as Tulsa’s secondary airport after Tulsa International, according to its website.