NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A federal grand jury has indicted a once prominent Nashville businessman with a drug smuggling past on charges of obstruction of justice and being a convicted felon in possession of 16 firearms.
The grand jury returned the indictment Wednesday against 75-year-old Russell Brothers Jr. of Burns, Tennessee.
The indictment said in April of last year Brothers had a number of rifles and shotguns in his possession.
Brothers was convicted in 1988 of drug trafficking for an international cocaine smuggling ring. He piloted the planes carrying the cocaine.
He was in the news last year after belly landing a small vintage plane at a closed Nashville airport and then ditching the aircraft in the middle of the night before it was discovered by a maintenance worker.
Brothers told police he was flying his 1961 Beechcraft twin-engine airplane from Miami when he decided to land at the closed airpark because he was familiar with the property.
"Coming on into Dickson I got into a landing pattern and put my wheels down but my wheels didn't come down," said Brothers.
Brothers knew he had to land it on a grass runway and the only one that came to mind was the Cornelia Fort Air Park in nearby East Nashville.
He had no lights or landing gear and used the distant lights from Opryland to help guide him down to safety.
The plane was discovered Sunday morning by an employee of Metro Nashville's Parks and Recreation department. When it was still there later in the day, he contacted police.
Local officials were called out to determine how the plane landed without anyone knowing about it. At the time they had no idea who the pilot was.
According to reports, Brothers has a criminal history that includes being sentenced to 60 years after being convicted of smuggling 1.5 tons of cocaine into South Florida in 1988.
Brothers served 11 years in prison for the smuggling charges. He said he had agreed to move the drugs to get out of debt, and that he learned his lesson.
"The going up is never worth the downside," he said.
In 2010, officials said Brothers stole his business partner's plane and held it for ransom. He was never convicted.
His cousin is Circuit Court Judge Tommy Brothers.
Police searched the abandoned plane for drugs, but found nothing.
Brothers insisted he didn't break any laws, and that there was nothing suspicious about his crash-landing.
(NewsChannel5 and The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)