Looters grab marijuana fallen

DETROIT (AP) — Residents of the working-class neighborhood where a small plane crashed, killing the pilot, have heard the rumors: Some neighbors and passers-by snatched bags of marijuana from the wreckage.
Authorities went door to door hours after Sunday’s crash looking for witnesses to the looting, but they still would not confirm the reports on Monday.
Gloria Johnson said she heard a boom, then saw the plane hit a tree and go down on a ball field across the street next to a junior high school.
She said there were “big bundles of drugs and money all around the plane,” and that the bundles of marijuana “looked like two big suitcases.”
Johnson said she saw people flee with some of the bundles.
“A couple of guys came to help, then grabbed the bags of drugs and left,” Johnson said.
Kimberly Terry, 32, who also lives across the street, said she was one of the first at the scene. She said she ran back home to call 911, and when she returned, people at the scene all were talking about the looting.
Both women said they saw the pilot alive in the wreckage, while authorities said they doubted he could have survived the impact of the crash.
Other witnesses, many who would not give their names, also said they saw people take bags of marijuana. No one said they saw anyone take any money.
Robert Mosely, 23, a lifelong resident of the west Detroit neighborhood, said he arrived too late to see any looting, but added that he understands the mentality of people who would.
“You see it’s money, you see it’s marijuana, you get as much as you can as fast as you can,” said Mosely. “It’s like when an armored car crashes. People will actually crack their cars up to grab a hundred dollars.”
Investigators think the pilot began his drug-smuggling flight somewhere in Mexico and was bound for either the United States or Canada.
Three customs planes began trailing the experimental homemade plane, made mostly from fiberglass and wood, after a ranger at Big Bend National Park near El Paso, Texas, reported it was flying low.
The pilot apparently spotted the customs planes in Champaign, Ill., and headed northeast until he ran out of gas in Detroit, 1,500 miles after customs began their pursuit.
At a news conference Monday, customs agent John Holmes displayed 408 pounds of marijuana that was recovered from the plane and released portions of an audiotape taken by one of the tailing planes that captured the crash.
“He’s got to be out of gas, figuring out what the devil he’s going to do,” one agent says. Seconds later, the plane hit the trees, then plunged to earth.
“He flipped, he flipped, he’s down,” the agent says.
Customs agents believe the pilot was Douglas C. Dufresne, 66, of Indialantic, Fla., about 50 miles southeast of Orlando, although he also carried another set of identification as Douglas A. Smith of Vancouver, British Columbia.