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Akaska (S.D.) “Pot Plane” Photographs/News Clippings, 1980

 Unprocessed Material — Box: 09062 B
Identifier: H2020-004

Content Description

The collection consists of thirty-four photographs and various news clippings concerning the seizure of a four engine, DC-7 airplane, filled with thirteen tons (approximately 500 bales) of Columbian marijuana, that landed near Akaska (S.D.) in western Walworth County on January 20, 1980. Timothy Kwasniewski, a former Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) Agent with the state of South Dakota, was called to the scene and took the accompanying photographs and collected newspaper articles on the seizure and later court cases. The photographs show on the ground, aerial and internal views of the DC-7 which landed on a stretch of flat land on a bluff above the Missouri River. The news clippings mainly date to the time of the seizure, arrests and trial in 1980, with a few stories dating to several years after the seizure. Six suspects were charged in connection with the incident with the street value of the marijuana (in 1980) being estimated at $18 million. The marijuana was burned at a landfill in Pierre and the DC-7 was confiscated by the state and later sold for $60,000, most of which was used to offset court cost in Walworth County involving the prosecution of those arrested. In addition, a t-shirt titled “Biggest Bust in South Dakota” Akaska “Pot Plane” and two of the burlap bags which held the marijuana were donated to the museum of the South Dakota State Archives.

Acquisition Type


Restrictions Apply



  • January 20, 1980
  • ca. 1980s



0.1 Cubic Feet