By BRAD KELLAR
Trial is starting today for a California man, charged in connection with a 2010 incident in which he allegedly dumped bags full of marijuana out of a plane while flying across Hunt County.
A jury was chosen in the 354th District Court Monday in the case against Darin William Fayne. Fayne has pleaded not guilty to one count of possession of marijuana in an amount of between 50 and 2,000 pounds.
Fayne, of Coarsegold, Calif., was arrested three years ago on one count each of possession of marijuana and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against a public servant.
Six duffel bags believed connected to a plane abandoned early the morning of July 19, 2010 at the Caddo Mills Municipal Airport have been recovered. The street value of the more than 200 pounds of hydroponic marijuana has been estimated at up to $1.5 million.
The possession charge is a second degree felony, punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of from two to 20 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.
The status of the second charge, alleging Fayne attacked federal officers as part of the same case, is unknown. The charge involves an incident at Majors Field Municipal Airport in Greenville the same morning.
Fayne’s aircraft had been followed by federal agents across the southwestern United States. According to statements by the Air Marines, their aircraft landed and was stationary on the runway at Majors. An armed, uniformed federal agent deboarded and attempted to approach the Cherokee 140 aircraft believed piloted by Fayne.
Fayne’s aircraft was reported to have accelerated directly at the agent and the Air Marine plane, with the wing of the suspect plane moving directly underneath the Air Marine plane.
Fayne’s aircraft reportedly ran out of gas near Caddo Mills.
The Hunt County District Attorney’s Office has subpoenaed a dozen witnesses to testify during the trial.