Buck Mills appears in Juneau Superior Court for his hearing on Friday, April 19, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Buck Mills appears in Juneau Superior Court for his hearing on Friday, April 19, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Co-defendant in prison drugs case pleads guilty

Buck Mills the latest in a line of pleas related to Lemon Creek Correctional Center drugs case

A year to the day after nine people were charged with conspiring to smuggle drugs into Lemon Creek Correctional Center, one of the co-defendants pleaded guilty Friday.

Buck Robert Mills, 39, pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree promoting contraband for his involvement in the plot to bring methamphetamine, heroin and Suboxone into the prison. He’ll be sentenced July 30, Superior Court Judge Amy Mead ruled Friday.

Mills was in custody at LCCC during the alleged crime on Dec. 16, 2017, according to charging documents at the time. On Dec. 13, according to charging documents, Mills spoke with co-defendant Tamra Fuhr about arranging for Suboxone to be brought into prison and him having money for her if she did so. Fuhr pleaded guilty in March of this year to second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance, according to electronic court records.

First-degree promoting contraband is a class C felony, but Mills’ plea agreement dismisses two second-degree drug misconduct charges that are class B felonies.

[Man indicted after allegedly stealing car, running from police]

Mills’ attorney Gregory M. Heritage said over the phone in court Friday that he and Office of Special Prosecutions Attorney Katholyn A. Runnels were able to reach an agreement on this charge fairly easily.

“We both thought this was fair, particularly because Buck played a very minor role at best, if all the allegations are true, in this incident at the prison,” Heritage said in court.

Almost all of the co-defendants have now pleaded guilty, most of whom have taken the same deal as Mills (pleading guilty to first-degree promoting contraband). Co-defendant John Negley is the only one with a scheduled trial, which is slated for May 13 according to electronic court records.

Mills, a Sitka resident, was arraigned on the charges on July 30, 2018, according to electronic court records, and was put on Pretrial Enforcement Division supervision. On Oct. 9, Mills took off his electronic monitoring device and fled, according to an Alaska State Troopers release at the time.

Mills was at large for three months until Jan. 20, when Juneau Police Department officers arrested him during a traffic stop in the 1300 block of Egan Drive. He had four warrants out for his arrest by that time.

As part of Mills’ plea agreement, his charge of violating conditions of release for the escape will be dismissed, Mead stated in court. The agreement also dismisses a separate charge of credit card fraud.

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

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