Carl Gruber, busted at Boulder airport with 55 pounds of marijuana, is renowned pilot

This weekend, Carl Gruber, 45, was busted at Boulder Municipal Airport with 55 pounds worth of marijuana.

But while media reports on the arrest characterize Gruber as a suspected smuggler, he was been best known prior to this point as a pilot -- an award-winning one.

Gruber's Facebook page describes him as a "self-employed pilot," and his name pops up regularly online in the context of flying competitions.

Take an AirVenture report about the 2005 National Championship Air Races, held in Reno, Nevada. The Gruber blurb reads: "'Eightball,' Carl Gruber and his black Pitts S-1C #8. With 164,8 mph he came in second last in the Bronze Class."

Here's the accompanying photo of Gruber behind the controls of the craft, which was entered in the biplane class of the competition:

Likewise, a 2005 newsletter describes Gruber as a "local hero and race pilot."

His race came to a stop, at least for now, on Saturday, after he landed a single engine plane at Boulder's airport. There, the Boulder Police Department and the Boulder County Drug Task Force were waiting to assist the Department of Homeland Security, which had been tracking the plane, according to the BPD. He was arrested on suspicion of possession, and possession with the intent to distribute, of between five and one-hundred pounds of marijuana. He was jailed on a $25,000 bond.

Homeland Security isn't the usual agency involved in such interdictions, but a BPD release stresses that "there was never an issue of immediate danger to the community," since "this has been a narcotics investigation from the beginning" -- meaning, presumably, that there's no contemplation of terrorist involvement with Gruber's cache of weed.

But was the pot Gruber's? Or was he simply transporting it for someone else? Those questions remain to be answered. In the meantime, he's due back in court February 23. Until then, he'll be grounded.

Here's a larger look at Gruber's mug shot.

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More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Operation Sweet Leaf: Jordan Buehrer accused ringleader in 25 grow metro-area megabust."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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