DEA office head among dead in plane crash

Monday, November 1, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS -- The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Indiana office was among three people killed in a single-engine plane crash in northeast Missouri, officials confirmed Sunday.

There were no survivors when the four-seat Beechcraft A-36 crashed Friday night in treeless pasture land near Bible Grove in Missouri's Schuyler county.

Armand McClintock, 54, assistant special agent in charge of the DEA's Indianapolis District Office, was one of the plane's two passengers.

"Our FBI evidence response team was called out to the wreckage," Indianapolis FBI agent Wendy Osborne told The Indianapolis Star on Saturday. "The FBI is saddened to learn of the news of the tragic accident. We will greatly miss him."

Schuyler County Sheriff Donald Bruner identified the others on the plane as Bill Shearer, 54, a lawyer in Anderson, Ind., and Dr. Ronald Kracke, 54, a physician in Pendleton, Ind.

Bruner said the National Transportation Safety Board and an evidence recovery team from the FBI, which routinely assists with plane crashes, had finished their investigation at the scene on Sunday. Cadaver dogs were being led through the wreckage, which was strewn over an area 150 yards long and 50 yards wide, he said.

The Beechcraft was flying through a thunderstorm when it crashed, said Tony Molinaro, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Chicago.

Shearer was piloting the plane, heading home with Kracke and McClintock from a pheasant-hunting trip in South Dakota, family and friends said.

"He was a very careful pilot," Jack Shearer told The Herald Bulletin of Anderson of his brother, who had been a pilot for nearly 25 years. "I think with the storm going down, they tried to fly under (around) it."

McClintock this year had led an effort to reduce the number of methamphetamine labs in Indiana and doubled the number of DEA agents in Evansville, where he said the problem was acute. The number of meth labs shut down by agents increased to 905 in 2003 from 152 in 1999, according to the DEA Web site.

McClintock, who began his career as an Anderson police officer, also testified in February in front of a congressional subcommittee on drug-trafficking about how families are being destroyed by the increase in meth manufacturing and use.

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