- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 12, 2015

An air traffic controller who once bungled a flight carrying first lady Michelle Obama was arrested after driving in Long Island with illegal guns and crystal meth, which he told police he uses to stay awake on the job.

Breen Peck, 52, of Redkey, Indiana, who works at a major New York City control area in Westbury, was arrested Wednesday night on drug and weapons charges during a traffic stop in Wantagh, Nassau, police said, Newsday reported.

Police stopped Mr. Peck for illegal window tint and failure to signal. When cops pulled him over, Mr. Peck told them he had a loaded gun behind his seat and another in the rear cargo area. During the stop, police found meth in his pants pocket.

“That’s meth. I smoke it to stay awake. I’m an air traffic controller,” Mr. Peck, a Federal Aviation Administration employee since 1991, told police, Newsday reported, citing court documents.

Acting Nassau Police Chief Thomas Krumpter said yesterday the guns police recovered were a Bersa Thunder .380-caliber handgun with eight rounds in the magazine and a Beretta .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun with 10 rounds in the magazine and an additional five rounds in another magazine.

Nassau police “may have averted an air disaster in the skies above Nassau County” by arresting Mr. Peck, Chief Krumpter said, Newsday reported.

Mr. Peck was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a controlled substance and with “numerous” vehicle and traffic law violations, police said.

In a statement following Mr. Peck’s arrest, the FAA said that he is “assigned to the facility’s training program,” but he is not working as a controller, the New York Post reported.

“The FAA is investigating the circumstances related to the investigation,” the agency said.

Mr. Peck had previously worked at a control center in Warrenton, Virginia, but was transferred after the incident with the first lady’s plane.

In April 2011, Mr. Peck was directing the plane carrying Mrs. Obama and Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife, as it approached Andrews Air Force Base — allowing it to get too close to the wake turbulence of a military cargo plane, The Washington Post reported. The White House plane was force to abort its landing.

A year earlier, Mr. Peck directed a United Airlines flight that almost collided with a smaller jet carrying Wisconsin Republican Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., The Post said.

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