One Juneau resident was sentenced for drug charges and another pleaded guilty to drug-related crimes in a separate case in U.S. District Court on Monday.
Tiffany Jo Spaulding, 35, was sentenced to five years in prison followed by five years of supervised release, according to a District of Alaska U.S. Attorney’s Office press release Tuesday. Spaulding previously pleaded guilty to one count of drug conspiracy. Her co-defendant Christian John Peters, 46, was sentenced earlier this year to two and half years in prison on the same charge.
The charges date back to an August 2017 drug bust in which authorities seized a package of oxycodone and methamphetamine that were shipped to a “Rosetta Stone” who lived in the 400 block of Fourth Street, according to a criminal complaint at the time. According to Tuesday’s release, Spaulding accepted the package and brought it to Peters. The two of them admitted to previously agreeing to deliver the meth to a co-conspirator.
Chantel Jalynn Epstein, 28, pleaded guilty to one count of drug conspiracy for helping bring methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine to Juneau earlier this year, according to the plea deal. Epstein allowed Alaska resident Kevin Dominique Leonard-Kinney and California resident Jennifer Michelle Greenberg to ship meth, heroin and cocaine to Juneau, she admitted.
Epstein admitted to receiving three packages from California on July 18, July 25 and Aug. 7, and to then giving those packages to Leonard-Kinney to distribute in Juneau. The final parcel included about 1,351 grams of meth, 159 grams of heroin and 28 grams of cocaine, according to the plea deal.
On Aug. 10, federal and local agencies seized this package, which the Juneau Police Department estimated to be worth about $200,000 in street value. JPD Canine Officer Buddy sniffed the package after U.S. Postal Inspectors identified it as suspicious. Authorities traced the package to a room at the Baranof Hotel, where agents found Leonard-Kinney, Epstein, the package and multiple guns, according to a JPD release at the time.
Epstein faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, according to her plea deal.
Leonard-Kinney’s trial is scheduled for Jan. 14, and Greenberg recently arrived in Alaska and has yet to be arraigned, according to a status report filed in the case last week. The report, filed by Assistant Federal Defender Jamie McGrady, stated that “the parties are working towards a resolution in this matter and do not anticipate a trial.” McGrady wrote that she will likely file a motion by the end of the month to either change Leonard-Kinney’s plea or to push the trial date back.
Third co-conspirator sentenced in teddy bear drug case
Chief U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess sentenced Nepatli Yadao Dadia, 41, to 10 years in prison after Dadia pleaded guilty to meth conspiracy, according to a release from the District of Alaska U.S. Attorney’s Office. Dadia’s sentence comes after Burgess sentenced 28-year-old Matthew Steven Speers to five years in prison and 33-year-old Jaypee Tolsa Lorenzo to 15 months in prison. All three men are Ketchikan residents, and all pleaded guilty to meth conspiracy.
Dadia admitted in his plea deal to coordinating the distribution of drugs and the collection of drug proceeds in a conspiracy to bring drugs to Ketchikan. The charges date back to an August 2017 bust when authorities found nearly 54 grams of meth hidden inside a teddy bear, according to the release. The teddy bear was included in a package from “Ivy Si” in Las Vegas that was sent to Speers in Ketchikan.
According to plea deals in the case, Dadia would sell Speers one ounce of meth for $3,000, and Speers would then sell some of it before sending the remaining meth to Lorenzo, who then delivered the drug proceeds and remaining drugs to Dadia. This is not the first conviction for Dadia, according to a sentencing memorandum written by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt, who prosecuted the case.
Schmidt prosecuted the Epstein and Spaulding cases as well, and wrote in his sentencing memorandum in Dadia’s case that bringing meth, heroin and other drugs to these small cities can have a large effect.
“Illicit narcotics are a cancer and many Southeast communities have suffered at the hands of this epidemic for years,” Schmidt wrote. “The effect on the communities throughout Southeast has been devastating.”
Prince of Wales conspirator sentenced
Burgess also sentenced Craig man Bradley Payton Grasser, 63, to 10 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release for his role in a meth trafficking ring on Prince of Wales Island, according to a release from the District of Alaska U.S. Attorney’s Office. In July 2017, Grasser pleaded guilty to meth conspiracy for arranging for meth to be mailed to co-conspirators around Prince of Wales and in Ketchikan, the release alleges.
A total of 1,133.7 grams of meth were seized during the conspiracy, which is alarming for a community so small, U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder said in the release.
“According to the 2010 U.S. Census Borough, the population of Craig is 1,201, which means the amount of drugs seized from Grasser would be enough for nearly one gram of methamphetamine, or approximately 10 dosage units for every single person in the community,” Schroder said in the release.
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.