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Southeast commercial fishing couple accepts plea deal on tax evasion

Two Southeast Alaskans pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of tax evasion, they said in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

Archie W. Demmert III and Roseann L. Demmert of Klawock were charged in July 2017 with willfully failing to pay their taxes for nine years, according to a plea agreement filed in the case. According to the plea agreement, the unpaid taxes from 2006-2014 amounted to at least $336,000.

They were charged with four counts, according to a U.S. Department of Justice release at the time. These counts alleged there were unpaid taxes in every year during that span except for 2010. Both Demmerts signed a plea agreement to plead guilty to two of the charges and have two of them dismissed, according to the plea agreements filed in the case.

According to the plea agreements, they face sentences of up to one year in prison for each charge, as well as a $100,000 fine and restitution. Both Demmerts agreed in their plea agreements that they owe a total of at least $145,000 in restitution. The total amount of taxes left unpaid, according to the plea deal, is $336,000 and could rise after other fees and taxes are factored in.

Sentencing for Archie, 57, and Roseann, 60, will take place Oct. 4, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess said Thursday.

According to court documents in the case, the Demmerts make their money through commercial fishing and Archie is the owner of Vetta Bay LLC. Their fishing boat, the Emerald Beauty, according to information in the case, is owned by Vetta Bay LLC. Commercial fishing permits for herring spawn on kelp and salmon purse seine are in Archie’s name, according to the court documents, and a herring spawn on kelp permit is in Roseann’s name.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Steward and U.S. Department of Justice Trial Lawyer Lori Hendrickson prosecuted the case. Defense attorneys Kevin Higgins and Paul Grant represented Archie and Roseann, respectively.

Man accepts plea deal in Ketchikan drug case

Alfonso Francisco Sandoval Jr., 31, will plead guilty to one count of methamphetamine conspiracy, he said in court Thursday.

According to the plea agreement, Sandoval admits to playing a role in distributing heroin and meth o Ketchikan in 2017 and in exchange, a firearms charge will be dropped. Sandoval was initially charged with possessing a firearm for being used in a drug conspiracy.

Sandoval faces a minimum of 10 years in prison for the charge, with a maximum penalty of life in prison. He could owe a maximum $10,000,000 fine, and supervised release of between five years and life.

As part of the plea deal, Sandoval also forfeits more than $16,000, two guns and ammunition.

According to the plea agreement and the original indictment, Arthur Castillo operated the distribution of meth in Ketchikan, arranging the shipment of drugs from California through the mail. According to the plea agreement, Sandoval helped distribute nearly 600 grams of meth and more than 75 grams of heroin.

Castillo signed a plea deal in March, pleading guilty to the same charge as Sandoval. Burgess set a sentencing hearing for Sandoval for 1 p.m. Oct. 4, 2018.

Sentencing in the fall for Prince of Wales, Ketchikan drug distributor

Bradley Payton Grasser, who pleaded guilty last year to drug conspiracy charges, will be sentenced this fall, according to court documents.

According to a plea agreement Grasser signed in July 2017, Grasser coordinated the distribution of methamphetamine on Prince of Wales Island between January 2014 and January 2017. Grasser used U.S. Postal Service packages to deliver the drugs to people on Prince of Wales and in Ketchikan, according to the plea agreement.

Grasser, 63, admitted in the plea agreement to having nearly $90,000 in drug proceeds. According to the plea agreement, Grasser employed an arsenal of nine rifles and a pistol in connection with the conspiracy, along with a motor home, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, multiple boats and a bronze sculpture called “Run of the Salmon People.”

According to an order filed May 23, Grasser’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Sept. 21, 2018.

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

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