The acting U.S. Attorney with the Department of Justice, Kevin Feldis announced on Thursday that a Palmer man who sold heroin to 22-year-old Michael Chalender of Houston, that later caused his death, was named in a three-count Grand Jury indictment on Thursday.
26-year-old Hiram Luis Ducasse, Jr, originally from the Dominican Republic, was indicted on charges of “conspiring with others to distribute heroin. The second and third counts both charge Ducasse with actually distributing heroin or otherwise possessing heroin with the intent to distribute it. The second count specifically charges Ducasse with distributing the heroin that resulted in the death of another individual,” the DOJ release stated.
The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Alaska State Troopers following the death of Chalender on December 1st of 2015. Two other indictments naming a further five individuals from Wasilla, Palmer, and California in relation to the same drug conspiracy were also handed down on Thursday. During the investigation in the days following the death of Chalender, 177 grams of heroin and 8.4 grams of methamphetamine were seized as well as nine firearms of which some were discovered to be stolen.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Courter, who presented the case to the Grand Jury, pointed out that Ducasse faces a possible 20 years in prison for the distribution of heroin that causes the death of another.
“Sadly, heroin use and distribution is on the rise throughout the country and in Alaska with often tragic consequences; this is one such tragic case,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Feldis. “As a community we must all play a role in combatting the use and distribution of illegal drugs and the addiction, crime and destruction that can too often result.”
“Nationwide, a drug overdose occurs every 12 minutes in which a life is taken by anonymous predators, however today, this heroin dealer is named and will face full accountability,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis.
“Drug and alcohol addiction continues to destroy Alaskans’ lives and we are committed to being part
of the solution,” said AST Captain Jeff Laughlin. “By working together with local, state and federal partners, those who are trafficking illicit drugs and contributing to the destruction of our neighbors’ lives will be relentlessly pursued and held accountable. Addiction is a disease, and those who contribute to this illness are put on notice that they will be held responsible, as evidenced by this indictment.”
Ducasse will be arraigned in the coming days.