The Super Bowl of Drug Busts
Akaska is home to two dozen people until the walleye start biting, and then the population swells with anglers. The quiet village on the east shore of the Missouri is an hour’s drive from Pierre — but your DC-7 can make it in ten minutes, and you can land in the grasslands near the river. It’s been done.
On Super Bowl Sunday afternoon in 1980, some local men left their ice-fishing shacks on the Missouri and headed home to watch the game. About sundown a huge plane flew low over their heads. They saw it land about 3 miles away.
The fishermen followed with their pickups, thinking they’d seen a plane crash. When they neared the landing site, they saw a suspiciously undamaged plane. Two men in the plane said they had engine trouble; one of them muttered something about being low on fuel.
One of the Akaskans parked his pickup in front of the plane so it couldn’t take off, and another ducked around the back of the plane and let the air out of the tires. Soon the two strangers fled into the night.
Local authorities eventually arrested six men and seized $18 million worth of marijuana in the plane — the biggest drug bust in state history. Apparently the plane had flown to Colombia to rendezvous with local dealers. They intended to land during the Super Bowl when everyone would be watching television, but due to a strong south wind, they arrived early and were spotted.
This is one fish story they don’t have to embellish at the Sportsmen’s Bar in Akaska.
Editor's note: This story originally appeared in South Dakota Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities and Other Offbeat Stuff by Bernie Hunhoff. To order a copy, visit our online store or call us at 1-800-456-5117.