It was announced by the Department of Justice on Monday that Wasilla man, 38-year-old James Gwaltney has been sentenced to seven years in prison for heroin trafficking. He was sentenced in U.S. District Court by Judge Sharon Gleason.
In a plea agreement, Gwaltney admitted to conspiring to distribute more than 1.6 kilos of heroin throughout the Anchorage area in late 2013. Gwaltney told the court that he and Baretta Faatafuga had received a safe in an Express package from the state of California that contained the heroin. Once receiving it, Gwaltney stated that he and Faatafuga intended to distribute the heroin.
Faatafuga was previously sentenced in U.S. District Court for his part in the conspiracy. Faatafuga received a sentence of almost eight years in prison.
The case began in October of 2013, when an inspector with the postal service came across the suspicious package coming from Manteca, California. A search warrant was carried out on the package, it and the safe it contained were opened and over three and a half pounds of brown heroin was found concealed inside.
The drugs were removed and fake drugs were put in their place and a device was placed inside to alert investigators when the package was opened. The package was delivered to an address in Houston and it was received by a woman at the residence. Gwaltney and Faatafuga arrived at the residence an hour later and shortly after, the implanted device alerted officers that the package was opened.
By the time that authorities arrived, Faatafuga had already left. Gwaltney was located in a motor home on the property. When searched, the motor home would also yeild two baags of Methamphetamine and cash.Faatafuga would be apprehended later at another location. When contacted, investigators would find that Faatafuga, who is a felon, was found to be in possession of several firearms.
Investigators also found the safe in a fire in the back yard. The device was also found in the fire’s ashes.
After his release from prison, Gwaltney will be under court supervision for a period of five years, during which time, Gwaltney will be required to complete 200 hours of community work service.