Thomas Keene Edenfield

5/8/43 - 7/6/18

No photo available

Keene Edenfield was born in Chattanooga, Tenn. He attended Emory university in Atlanta. He was hired by Seaboard on April 19, 1979. Seven months later, on November 19, 1979, an RC‑54V (DC‑4) carrying 15,000 pounds of marijuana crashed near McCormick, S.C. Both pilots were killed. The copilot was Jack Lundelius, on furlough from Seaboard. The DC‑4 was owned by Tiburon Aircraft and Keene was the president of Tiburon Aircraft. He claimed that the aircraft was stolen.

Keene also flew for Air Jamaica. In the early 1980s, Keene flew for Air America, an aircraft modification company at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport in Pennsylvania. Their main business was smuggling cocaine from Columbia to the U.S. using modified Cessna 310s. In 1986, those involved were arrested and Keene was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was released after 5 years. On March 27, 1988, the story was told in a New York Times article titled The Cocaine Express. According to the article,

Edenfield, the former Air Jamaica pilot, made at least $7 million, which he invested in a chain of hotels in Idaho and Utah and in commercial real estate around Albuquerque. He owned a dozen antique cars and lived with his wife and four sons in a house in Albuquerque that one Customs agent described as ''a medieval castle.''

Keene died at a hospice in Hazard, KY. He is survived by his second wife and 4 sons from his first marriage which ended in divorce.


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