Federal charges filed in Medford plane crash

Crews respond to a plane that crashed into a tree on Whittle Road June 8 in Medford.

Mail Tribune / file photo

The two Idaho men who survived a plane crash in a Medford neighborhood last month now face federal charges.

Pilot Mathew William Thompson, 38, faces a new charge of operating an unregistered aircraft surrounding the June 8 crash in which the 1947 Beech 35 Bonanza he was piloting struck a tree on Whittle Avenue, according to a document filed July 10 in U.S. District Court in Medford.

The document alleges that Thompson operated the aircraft knowing it was not registered, the certificate had been suspended or revoked or that he did not have “proper authorization to operate or navigate the aircraft without registration for a period of time after transfer of ownership.”

Federal prosecutors allege that the aircraft violation was related to a controlled substance. According to a copy of the United States Code made available through Cornell Law School’s Legal Information institute, criminal penalties for using an unregistered aircraft in furtherance of a drug crime can be punishable by additional prison time — more than one year and up to five years — rather than a concurrent prison sentence.

The court document separately accuses Thompson and passenger Zachary Wayne Moore, 34, of possessing a Schedule I controlled substance with intent to distribute it — specifically marijuana in the form of hash oil.

The charge appears to be in addition to state charges filed by a grand jury last week accusing Thompson and Moore of unlawfully importing or exporting a marijuana item, unlawfully delivering a marijuana item and unlawfully possessing a marijuana item — described as more than a quarter ounce of cannabinoid extracts. In the state case, Moore separately faces a charge of unlawfully possessing LSD.

Idaho court records show a relatively minor criminal history for Thompson. In April 2006, Thompson was sentenced to 180 days in jail after admitting to misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure and negligent driving in Ada County Magistrate Court surrounding a Jan. 9, 2004, incident. That same day, Thompson was sentenced to 60 days in jail after admitting to a November 2003 charge of failing to have the proper driver’s license and for failing to have insurance.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

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