(Anchorage, AK)— Two Alaska High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Taskforces seized over $356,000 worth of illegal narcotics in Southeast Alaska and Southcentral Alaska this week. The two seizures are among the largest fentanyl seizures in Alaska history.
On April 26, 2022, at approximately 2:00 pm investigators with the Anchorage Airport Interdiction Team (AAIT) were notified of a suspicious parcel at a commercial shipping facility. Investigators responded and seized approximately 2,700 counterfeit M30 fentanyl pills in a parcel addressed to an Alaska residence. Investigators identified persons of interest associated with the parcel and after receiving a search warrant contacted three individuals at a Wasilla residence. 40-year-old Redlands, California resident Tyrone Hampton and 37-year-old Mesa, Arizona resident Charles Holyfield were both arrested on charges of Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree for their part in the interstate trafficking of the seized counterfeit fentanyl pills. 24-year-old Ontario, California resident Lawrence McGirt II was also arrested on multiple extraditable warrants out of California during the operation. All three were remanded to Mat-Su Pretrial. The street value of these counterfeit pills in the Mat-Su Valley is estimated to be over $100,000.
On April 27, 2022, at approximately 12:00 pm, investigators with the Southeast Alaska Cities Against Drugs (SEACAD) taskforce were notified of a suspected parcel enroute to Craig, Alaska containing suspected narcotics. Investigators tracked the parcel to a residence in Klawock and seized 2,000 counterfeit M30 fentanyl pills and 453 grams of crystal methamphetamine. Investigators arrested 39-year-old Craig resident Cicely Tupou, 43-year-old Hydaburg resident Shanteh Carle, and 44-year-old Klawock resident Donald Yates on charges of Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree and Third Degree for their part in the trafficking of the seized narcotics. Investigators also arrested 40-year-old Hydaburg resident Alva Peratrovich for a Probation Violation. All four were remanded to the Craig Jail. The estimated street value on Prince of Wales Island for the counterfeit pills is approximately $200,000 and the estimated street value of the methamphetamine is approximately $67,900.
“Disrupting the sale, trafficking, and distribution of illegal narcotics in Alaska is a top priority of the State of Alaska, Alaska Department of Public Safety, and our many law enforcement partners across the state,” said Colonel Bryan Barlow, Director of the Alaska State Troopers and Vice Chair of the Alaska HIDTA Executive Board. “The Alaska HIDTA partnership and our regional taskforces are constantly working together to find and arrest those that deal drugs, death, and disaster in Alaska. Illegal narcotics, especially fentanyl, have a widespread negative impact on Alaskans in every corner of our state. We are committed to doing our part to change that.”
In 2022, during the months of January, February, and March the statewide HIDTA initiative, including the Alaska State Troopers, seized 1,906 pills containing fentanyl and 1,244.42 grams of fentanyl. During all of 2021 the statewide HIDTA initiative, including the Alaska State Troopers, seized 7,310 pills containing fentanyl and approximately 612.16 grams of fentanyl.
The Anchorage Airport Interdiction Team, or AAIT, focuses on drug interdictions at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. AAIT is comprised of members of the Alaska State Troopers, Anchorage Airport Police, Anchorage Police Department, North Slope Borough Police, Sand Point Police, and US Postal Inspection Service. Together, they work to investigate drug importation and distribution that involves the Anchorage airport system.
SEACAD, Southeast Alaska Cities Against Drugs, is a regional taskforce comprised of municipal police departments from Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Haines, Skagway, Petersburg, Hoonah, Wrangell, Craig and Yakutat, the Alaska State Troopers, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Postal Inspection Service, and Coast Guard Investigative Service. Together, they work to investigate drug importation and distribution in the Southeast Alaska region.