Helicopters ordinarily do not land in parking lots. When they do, local police and aviation authorities usually take notice. The unplanned landing of a helicopter in a parking lot in Swansea was only the beginning of a bizarre chain of events that ended with the investigation of the former CEO of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Co. for possible drug crimes.
The helicopter was operated by August Busch IV, the former CEO of the Busch brewing empire. According to witnesses, the helicopter landed at about 12:48 p.m. on Monday, July 10, 2017. About eight hours later, observers saw a man who appeared to be intoxicated start the helicopter’s engine, and several of them called police. A Swansea officer arrived in a squad car as the helicopter was preparing to take off. The officer flashed her warning lights, and the pilot powered down the helicopter. According to the officer’s affidavit, the pilot appeared to be anxious and unable to maintain a continuous train of thought. The officer administered a breathalyzer test, which returned a 0.00 percent blood alcohol content level. After talking to a woman passenger in the helicopter, police arrested Busch and he was jailed in Swansea.
Police obtained a search warrant based upon their observation that the pilot appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance. Police then searched the helicopter and found four bottles of prescription medication and several firearms, all of which were loaded. Busch was subjected to further sobriety tests at the Swansea jail. Authorities were awaiting the results of these and other toxicology tests before making a decision on whether to file criminal charges. Two of the medications, Xanax and Clonazepam, were tranquilizers that had been prescribed for Busch.
This case shows how the willful or careless misuse of prescription drugs such as Xanax and Clonazepam can impair a person’s ability to function and provide grounds for the filing of criminal charges. Anyone who is facing charges for misuse of a controlled substance may wish to consult a criminal defense attorney who has experience defending such cases.
Source: Belleville News-Democrat, “Ex-Anheuser-Busch CEO had loaded guns, 8 dogs and prescription pills in chopper, police say,” Beth Hundsdorfer and George Pawlaczyk, Juliy 11, 2017