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Monday, July 23, 2012

More defendants indicted in secret on heroin, meth charges

JUNEAU EMPIRE
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Latest by 44 years 48 weeks ago

Six more people were indicted in secret on serious drug-related charges for possessing and dealing methamphetamine and heroin, according to court records.

The seals on the indictments were lifted and made public after those indicted were taken into custody over the past two weeks.

District Attorney David Brower said in a phone interview Saturday that all the sealed indictments have now been unsealed.

“We didn’t want to alert people to what was going on,” Brower said, explaining that some of the facts and circumstances in the different cases were similar.

The Alaska Rules of Criminal Procedure allows the returns of indictments to be closed to the public in some instances until a warrant or summons is executed.

The Empire previously reported that three defendants — Todd L. Johnson, Flynn T. Lobaugh and Ernie J. Tullis — were arraigned in Juneau Superior Court on drug charges after the seals of their indictments were lifted. They were indicted June 29.

Now, court records indicate that on June 29, a grand jury also indicted Zachary D. McCreery, Nicholas A. DeTemple, Halena D. Isturis, Amanda D. Currin, Elliot L. Pillifant and Veronica M. Parks.

McCreery, 21, was charged with three counts of third-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance for allegedly knowingly delivering methamphetamine on April 24, May 2 and May 8. Third-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance is a class ‘B’ felony that can carry up to 10 years in prison.

DeTemple, 24, was charged with one count of second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance for allegedly knowingly delivering heroin on March 21, and one count of third-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance for knowingly delivering methamphetamine on April 3. Second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance is a class ‘A’ felony that can carry a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison.

Isturis, 19, was charged with one count of second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance for allegedly knowingly delivering heroin on April 5. That’s an ‘A’ felony.

Currin, 22, was charged with one count of second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance for allegedly knowingly delivering heroin on April 4.

Pillifant, 23, was charged with one count of second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance for allegedly knowingly delivering heroin on April 3.

Parks, 21, was charged with one count of second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance for allegedly knowingly delivering heroin on or between April 27 and May 3, and one count of attempted second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance for allegedly taking a substantial step toward knowingly delivering heroin on or between April 27 and May 3. The latter is a ‘B’ felony.

A different grand jury also indicted three more people for similar offenses last Friday, July 13: Paul S. Locher, Jesse N. Rodriguez and Jacob L. Kitka.

Locher, 53, was indicted on one count of second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance for allegedly possessing heroin with intent to deliver on July 11.

Rodriguez, 33, was indicted on two counts of second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance for allegedly knowingly possessing heroin and oxycodone hydrochloride with intent to deliver on July 11, and one count of fourth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance for allegedly knowingly having a place used for keeping or distributing controlled substances. Fourth-degree drug misconduct is a class ‘C’ felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Kitka, 28, was indicted on one count of fourth-degree drug misconduct for knowingly possessing methamphetamine on April 25.

Indictments are formal accusations of illegal activity, and they are not indicative of guilt.

Police were not immediately available for comment, but Juneau Police Department Lt. David Campbell previously told the Empire in a recent interview that while statistics aren’t yet available, there appears to be a noticeable increase in heroin and methamphetamine use in Juneau.

Campbell, who has been with JPD for 17 years and used to work in the narcotics division, explained that trending drug usage is “cyclical,” depending on a variety of factors including what’s available when and for what price.

“You can pick almost any drug and you can see how the cycle has worked for that drug,” Campbell said.

He noted that when the price for oxycodone recently began to rise in Juneau, there appeared to be an uptick in heroin.

The most recent statistics available are two years old — from 2010 — but they indicate oxycodone netted the most worth in street value in drugs seized by police. Police seized a total of $512,222 worth of drugs that year, according to the 2011 JPD Annual Report. Oxycodone accounted for the majority of that — $430,445 with 2,484 pills seized. Heroin and methamphetamine ranked comparatively lower as police seized 22.9 grams of heroin worth $3,350, and 104.9 grams of methamphetamine worth about $11,390.

Oxycodone and oxycontin outranked those two drugs in terms of net worth of the seized drugs in 2009, too, according to the 2010 JPD Annual Report.

Police seized a total of $1,008,344 worth of drugs that year, with marijuana accounting $544,230 of that. Oxycodone and oxycontin was next on the list — police seized 2,095 pills worth $377,100. The report indicates police seized 74.2 grams of heroin worth $7,420 and 428.02 grams of methamphetamine worth $47,082.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

6 comments »
Latest by 44 years 48 weeks ago