WIGGINS, Mississippi Stone County investigators said they seized thousands of dollars in cash out of a plane that crashed near Wiggins, and have arrested one of three injured Texas men on a drug charge.
Authorities on Friday confirmed the arrest of Jeff Franklin, 43, of Sherman, on a charge of possession of hydrocodone.
Franklin was a back-seat passenger in the 2007 single-engine Cessna 602 that crashed about 6:12 p.m. near Oil Well Road off Mississippi 26. The area is just north of Flint Creek Water Park.
The pilot, Jeff Bramblett, 62, from Mesquite, remained in the hospital Friday. A spokesman for Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg said Bramblett was in fair condition.
'He had head trauma, a broken arm and possibly other injuries,' said Lt. Lewis Husband of the Stone County Sheriff's Office.
Franklin and the front-seat passenger, Joe Paul Mentesara, 66, 0f Dallas, were treated at the hospital and released.
The men told first responders they were heading to Mobile from Dallas, but investigators said the men gave information that raised suspicions. Narcotics officers said they brought a drug-sniffing dog to the crash site and found numerous bottles of prescription pills in luggage on the plane and a few capsules on the ground.
Sheriff's officials said it appears the Cessna began having problems and the pilot tried to land the plane in a field, but it clipped tree branches, leaving its tail in a tree, and took a nosedive on a grassy area near the road.
'The one with the least injuries was walking around afterwards,' Husband said.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Raven James, director of the Stone County Emergency Management Agency, said a team from the Federal Aviation Administration arrived at the crash site Friday morning to begin investigating.
'It will be a lengthy and thorough investigation,' James said.
An insurance company from Arkansas also was expected to review the wreckage.
Authorities said the FAA likely will have the wreckage retrieved Saturday and taken to another location for further examination.
The Sheriff's Office planned to post personnel to guard the scene again overnight to preserve the evidence.