Listicle: Who are the 54 people indicted in large-scale organized criminal drug ring in Alaska?

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The U.S Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska announced Thursday that 54 people have been charged through nine indictments in connection with a large-scale organized crime ring operating within Alaska that was being run from a prison cell in California and reached communities as remote as Savoonga, Alaska.

According to court documents, Heraclio Sanchez-Rodriguez, 57, ran a transnational organized crime and drug trafficking ring targeting Alaska. The charges are separate from a murder charge against one of the members of the crime syndicate who allegedly killed two women near Trapper Creek.

Throughout the entirety of the conspiracy, Sanchez-Rodriguez was an inmate in a California state prison and communicated with suppliers in Mexico, intermediaries in California and Oregon, and distributors of the drug trafficking enterprise in Alaska.

From February 2022 to July 2023, law enforcement intercepted roughly 36 kilograms of fentanyl, 27.3 kilograms of meth, 11.3 kilograms of heroin and 118 grams of cocaine connected to the enterprise, with the majority destined for various communities across the state.

According to the indictments, the enterprise mainly used high-level suppliers to send drug packages through the U.S. Postal Service from Oregon and California to Alaska.

Distributors located in Alaska would receive the packages and distribute the drugs to Alaskan communities as small as Goodnews Bay, Tyonek, Sand Point, and Savoonga per Sanchez-Rodriguez’s instruction.

The indictments charge that Christina Quintana, 38, who was an inmate at Hiland Mountain Correctional Facility in Eagle River during the entirety of the conspiracy, was known as one of Sanchez-Rodriguez’s “wives,” which was a title reserved for high-ranking members of the enterprise.

Her role in the conspiracy was allegedly to recruit soon to be released inmates from Hiland to be distributors for the enterprise. Upon release, the newly recruited members are alleged to have received packages of drugs to distribute the drugs across Alaska.

At the direction of Sanchez-Rodriguez and in furtherance of the conspiracy, Tamara Bren, 41, who was one of Sanchez-Rodriguez’s “wives,” and Kevin Peterson, 29, another member of the enterprise, allegedly killed Sunday Powers and Kami Clark near Trapper Creek in May 2023. That indictment was filed by a grand jury in October.

Court documents allege Sanchez-Rodriguez, Bren and Peterson coordinated the kidnapping, where the victims were kidnapped through carjacking, murdered and buried in a shallow grave.

The grand jury also charged Edward Ginnis, 38, and Samantha Pearson, 37, of North Pole, with offenses related to their role in the conspiracy and with selling fentanyl to 32-year-old Adam Sakkinen, also of North Pole, resulting in his death.

Over 25 defendants were also charged with money laundering conspiracy to promote drug trafficking and concealing the source of the funds. Court documents identified at least 76 separate money laundering transactions as part of the investigation, including some made internationally to Mexico.

Defendants in this case include:

1. Alison Giacullo, 40
2. Amber Young, 28
3. Amy Garcia, 32
4. Angela Jasper, 39
5. Anna Petla, 24
6. April Chythlook, 28
7. Ashley Northrup, 35
8. Catherine Phillips, 40
9. Christina Quintana
10. Cloe Sam, 26
11. Colleen McDaniel, 68
12. Della Northway, 28
13. Desiree Green, 45
14. Douglas Vanmeter, 32
15. Edward Ginnis
16. Elroy Bouchard, 58
17. Erika Badillo, a.k.a “Erica Madrigal,” 42
18. Erindira Pin, 44
19. Frieda Gillespie, 50
20. Gust Romie, 36
21. Heraclio Sanchez-Rodriguez, a.k.a “Charlie,” “Marco” and “Danny Sanchez”
22. James Schwarz, 41
23. Josi Sterling, a.k.a “Josi Philbin,” 35
24. Julia Brusell, 41
25. Kaleea Fox, 24
26. Karen Kasak, 51
27. Karly Fuller, 30
28. Kevin Peterson II
29. Khamthene Thongdy, 45
30. Krystyn Gosuk, 33
31. Larry Marsden, 41
32. Lois Frank, 64
33. Mario Klanott, 37
34. Michael Kohler, 35

35. Michael Soto, 33
36. Michelle Pungowiyi, 49
37. Naomi Sanchez, 39
38. Pasquale Giordano, 45
39. Patricia Seal-Uttke, 30
40. Pius Hanson, 40
41. Richard Frye, 35
42. Rochelle Wood, 38
43. Samantha Pearson
44. Sara Orr, 32
45. Shanda Barlow, 34
46. Shania Agli, 25
47. Stormy Cleveland, a.k.a “Stormy Powell,” 37
48. Tamara Bren
49. Tamberlyn Solomon, 25
50. Tiffani Couch, 30
51. Twyla Gloko, 36
52. Valerie Sanchez, 26
53. Veronica Sanchez, 49

U.S. Attorney S. Lane Tucker of the District of Alaska, Assistant Special Agent in Charge David Zahn of the Drug Enforcement Administration Anchorage District Office, Assistant Inspector In Charge Jarrod Resendez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Seattle Division, Special Agent in Charge Antony Jung of the FBI Anchorage Field Office, and Capt. Cornelius Sims of the Alaska State Troopers made the announcement alongside Special Agent in Charge Adam Jobes of the IRS Criminal Investigation Seattle Field Office and Chief Michael Kerle of the Anchorage Police Department during a press conference at the James M. Fitzgerald U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building.

Most defendants made their initial court appearances over the past four months before U.S. Magistrate Judges of the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska.

The Drug Enforcement Administration Seattle Field Division- Anchorage District Office, FBI Anchorage Field Office, IRS Criminal Investigation Seattle Field Office, U.S. Postal Inspection Service Seattle Division and Anchorage Domicile, Alaska State Troopers, Anchorage Police Department and Palmer Police Department, with significant law enforcement support from the U.S. Marshals Service, are investigating the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephan Collins, Christopher Schroeder, Karen Vandergaw and Alana Weber are prosecuting.

19 COMMENTS

    • How? Life is cheap to them. They’ll just find another set of dolts to take their place.

      You stop it at the source.

      • Actually you stop the MARKET FOR IT. If they have no one to buy it they won’t be able to sell it. But thank the now BILLIONAIRES who made and pushed doctors in the US to give more and more OxyContin to people. It was literally the Sackler family, big Pharma that started all this I mean there was a trade for heroin back in the day, but nothing like we have now with fentanyl, and if you stop the Chinese suppliers from being able to create the drug and then getting it over to Mexico, like you said, if we stop at the source, we would be able to stop the flow of it a lot more
        Number one the source of words coming from number two the market of where it’s being sold, but good luck with that many of our lives are so miserable every day here in the country that has a so-called American Dream they’re only respite is to use a little medication to numb the pain of everything.

      • In a “rational” world, what you say makes sense.

        However, this is not a rational world.

        Here is a rational idea for you.

        One of these fellow’s name sounded familiar so I looked him up in Courtview. Just one of them.

        Pius Hanson, age 40, has at least three previous FELONY convictions for drug distribution at just the state level.

        Three different court cases. Yet, he has been free to sling dope at will.

        Sorry, but time has arrived for him to seek grace.

        What happens is that if you start killing them off, the experienced ones are gone and all you have left is the younger dolts…who are much more easily caught.

        Frankly, if you haven’t had the fortune to deal with even minor dealers, you have probably not met anyone in your life so devoid of conscience. These guys are not the charming fools you see in Hollywood movies.

        So, in their best interests and society’s , these guys need the soonest opportunity ro seek grace, or not seek it and take their chances.

        Yes, kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out.

        • And when the next, more violent wave comes in?

          You squeeze the low level trolls and you use them to go after bigger fish. Time honored and proven technique.

          • “…….Time honored and proven technique.”
            Mao ended a 250 year old opium epidemic in China within a decade. How?:
            1) He executed the dealers
            2) He forced farmers to stop growing poppies and grow food
            3) He forced users to treatment, and if they failed or refused, they went the way of the dealers

    • One would understand well the anger in this response.

      Especially, considering that it seems drugs arrived to AK in the US Mail and planning was carried out in the invisible airwaves.

  1. California? How many people in between (prison guards, probation officers, DA’s, prosecutors, judges, etc.) knew what was going on and was paid off to be silent. Money is the root of all evil

    • The Love of money is the root of all evil. I think it’s related to envy and pride.
      A common thread I read in The Comments is on I’ll call Blame. The user and addict have no one to blame burn themselves. We’ve lost a lot as society when we trampled Personal Responsibility under word such as Attractive Nuisance and others. I don’t know that secular solutions can solve spiritual problems.

  2. Whenever there is a big bust like this, it drives up prices and profits. The guys at the top of the pyramid are laughing all the way to the bank.

  3. Doesn’t look so elaborate an operation to have taken five years to crack. Maybe missed something. Drugs being flown to villages by the subsidized USPO. Organized by incarcerated criminals. Give them all medals.

    • Another good candidate for investigation and (as appropriate) punishment is the perpetually failing USPS.

      The abolition it.

  4. Appropriate long prisonn terms for the organizers. Short terms and rehabilitatiion for the younger distributors. Tighten up the prisons so ringleaders can not communicate to the outside. Solitary for those who organized from within the prisons We don’t just put people to death in this country.

  5. They’ll all be out on parole in 18 months because of their Scumbag Privledge. They’ll then abscond from parole because they know parole officers, the parole department and law enforcement rarely make a concerted effort to track down absconders because the court system will just reissue them another Scumbag Privledge Card.

  6. What is needed is concentration of stopping the flow of drugs into our state. We all know that punishment for the criminals will be light, and replacements cheap. The only justice will occur if they are accidentally shot during an arrest. The tools to stop the transportation of drugs to and within our state are available. But not being used for some reason. Stop the drugs, stop the money. Do you really think that a remote village that has limited air only access should have a fentanyl problem?

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