Stolen boat leads police to group storing drugs, firearms

KENAI — Residents from Alaska and California have been arrested in Soldotna on drug and firearm charges after being connected to a stolen boat from Anchorage.

Gabe Fletcher, owner of Anchorage Brewing Company, said his stepfather’s King Fisher boat named “Celestial Dawn” was stolen from outside the brewery on Easter Sunday.

“We found out at 8 (p.m.),” Fletcher said.

After he called the Anchorage Police Department, Fletcher said he took to the Anchorage Brewing Company Facebook page, posting pictures and a description of the boat and asking the online community to keep an eye out for it. Soon, he said, calls came in with people reporting sightings of the boat along its path from Anchorage to Soldotna, one of them being Bing’s Landing.

Soldotna Police got a tip around 8 a.m. Monday morning that the 28-foot boat was in a parking lot near Mykel’s Restaurant, said Soldotna Police Chief Peter Mlynarik.

“Then we contacted occupants of a room that we connected to the boat, and inside the room firearms and drug paraphernalia were observed so we got a search warrant for the room,” Mlynarik said.

California residents Ashley Rubalcaba, 30, and Jesse Larosa, 35, along with 24-year-old Samantha L. Griffiths of Anchorage and 37-year-old Anthony Hanson of Petersburg, were all arrested in connection with the case. They face a mix of charges ranging from misconduct involving weapons and controlled substances to forgery and impersonation.

In the room at the Soldotna Inn, police found 150 grams of black tar heroin, street valued at $75,000, about 90 grams of meth valued at $18,000, more than two ounces of marijuana, $10,000 cash, fraudulent identification cards and drug paraphernalia, Mlynarik said. Police also found six firearms, two of which had previously been reported as stolen, he said.

The stolen boat will remain an Anchorage case, Mlynarik said. Local investigators still have leads they need to follow up with to ensure they have everyone involved in the incident, he said.

Fletcher drove to Soldotna Monday to return his stepfather’s boat, which was not damaged. He said the boat would have been hard to take.

“We had a big deadbolt on the trailer hitch and you have to have the right kind of truck to pull this thing,” Fletcher said.

Alaska State Troopers assisted Soldotna Police in the investigation, Mlynarik said.

• Contact Kenai Peninsula Clarion reporter Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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