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AP source: Pot found aboard plane near Marine 1

AP source: Pot found aboard plane intercepted after flying in Obama's Marine 1 airspace By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' Two Air Force F-16 fighters intercepted a privately owned Cessna airplane that entered the same Los Angeles airspace as the helicopter Marine One on Thursday as the chopper was ferrying President Barack Obama.

Police discovered about 40 pounds (18 kilograms) of marijuana inside the plane after it landed at Long Beach Airport, a law enforcement official said. The official was not authorized to comment publicly on the drug investigation and spoke under condition of anonymity.

The Secret Service said the president was never in any danger.

In a statement, the North American Aerospace Defense Command said it scrambled two F-16 fighters from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California, to intercept a Cessna 182 over Los Angeles about 2:30 p.m. EST.

The Secret Service said the plane had entered into the same airspace as Marine One. Officials interviewed the pilot and turned the matter over to local law enforcement.

NORAD spokesman Michael Kucharek declined to disclose how close the Cessna came to Marine One.

The Federal Aviation Administration had notified pilots that there was an eight-mile (13-kilometer) radius around Los Angeles that was off-limits to air traffic Thursday, spokeswoman Brie Sachse said. It was that radius that the Cessna violated.

Sachse declined to release the Cessna's tail number, saying the agency does not identify planes involved in security incidents.


Associated Press writer Joan Lowy contributed to this report.

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