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NORAD intercepts drug plane in restricted airspace

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 9:45 PM EST, Thu February 16, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 10 kilos of marijuana found on intercepted plane, authorities say
  • Cessna gets fighter jet escort out of restricted air space
  • The Cessna 182 was met by law enforcement on the ground
  • The restriction of airspace coincided with West Coast travel by the president

Los Angeles (CNN) -- If you're planning to transport marijuana in a private plane, you may want to check the president's schedule before taking off.

That was the apparent lesson Thursday when two fighter jets under the direction of the the North American Aerospace Defense Command intercepted a general aviation plane that had flown Thursday into temporarily restricted air space over Los Angeles, NORAD said.

The restriction of the airspace coincided with travel to the West Coast by President Barack Obama.

The F-16s were scrambled from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California, and intercepted the errant Cessna 182 around 11:30 a.m. (2:30 p.m. ET), said NORAD.

Accompanied by the F-16s, the Cessna 182 landed without incident, where it was met by local law enforcement, NORAD said.

A law enforcement official said 10 kilograms of what appeared to be marijuana were found on the plane.

Secret Service spokesman Max Milien said only that "some type of narcotics" was found.

The Secret Service concluded that the pilot was "of no protective interest to us," meaning the individual was not considered a threat, and was therefore turned over to the Long Beach Police Department.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, which helped question the pilot, said police were expected to refer the case to state prosecutors.

The White House had no comment.

CNN Rosalina Nieves contributed to this report story from Los Angeles.

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