Police investigators across the Kenai Peninsula, including the Homer Police, participated in a massive drug bust that resulted in charges being filed against 19 suspected drug dealers in Alaska, including drug suppliers at Anchor Point, Kenai and Soldotna.
Federal prosecutors brought charges against 27 individuals for their alleged involvement in an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force operation in Nevada and Alaska involving the distribution of over 6,000 tablets of Oxycodone and the laundering of over $1.2 million, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Eight persons were arrested in Las Vegas on Oct. 28, and 19 individuals were arrested in Alaska and Las Vegas. Twenty-five of the defendants are charged with money laundering conspiracy, and 14 of the defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone from July 2009 to October 2010.
The complaints allege that a drug trafficking organization led by Nicholas Ghafouria, of Las Vegas, is responsible for acquiring thousands of tablets of oxycodone in Las Vegas and distributing it in various cities in Alaska, and laundering the profits through Las Vegas bank accounts.
The complaints state that beginning in June 2009, Ghafouria and another Las Vegas resident, Ki Yong Parker, used prescriptions in their names to acquire approximately 6,200 tablets of Oxycodone, which were distributed in Alaska. Ghafouria also allegedly obtained Ixycodone through Las Vegas resident Demetha Jackson. The complaints allege that the other defendants worked for Ghafouria as money launderers and/or drug traffickers in Las Vegas and Soldotna, Kenai, Wasilla, Anchor Point, and Anchorage. The Alaska defendants allegedly sold the oxycodone pills in Alaska, and deposited the drug proceeds in bank accounts in the names of Ghafouria and several co-conspirators. The drug proceeds were then withdrawn by co-conspirators in Las Vegas. The complaint alleges that from July 24, 2009, through October 2, 2010, over $1.2 million in cash proceeds from the distribution of oxycodone was deposited into nine Las Vegas-based bank accounts controlled by Ghafouria and his co-conspirators.
It is alleged that Ghafouria attempted to legitimize the money earned from drugs by operating a custom motorcycle and paint shop named Alley Rat Custom Cycles in Las Vegas. The complaint states that oxycodone pills are delivered to Ghafouria at Alley Rat, and that Ghafouria uses persons (mules) to transport the pills from the business to Alaska via commercial airlines.
Defendant Ghafouria is detained pending trial. All other Las Vegas defendants were released on bond. Preliminary hearing dates for all of them are set for Nov. 15.
The Alaska residents include: Frankie Dupuis, 30, Cinthia Morgan Spoonts, 26, Jon Horsley, 22, Trevor Cunningham, 26, Kevin Gonzales, 48, Harley Rice, 30, Jonathan Gattenby, 27; Jodaci Vogel, 31, all of Soldotna; Cathleen Eugenia Renney, referred to in the complaint as Kathleen Haley, 54, Sterling; John Covich, 29; Anthony Diaz, 20, Melissa Cue, 33, Ernest Gallagher, 36, Daniel Stevens Hall, 27, Alfred Jones, 47, all of Kenai; BJ Griffith 21, Anchor Point, Shaw Newkirk of Anchorage and John Skoog, 29, of Wasilla.
All the Alaskan defendants are currently detained. If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine on the drug trafficking charge, and up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine on the money laundering charge.
The case is being investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation in Las Vegas, the FBI in Las Vegas and Anchorage, DEA in Las Vegas and Anchorage, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in Anchorage, Department of Homeland Security in Anchorage, Las Vegas OCDETF, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, United States Attorney’s Office, District of Alaska, Alaska Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Enforcement, Alaska State Troopers (Soldotna SERT, Soldotna ABI, Anchor Point Troopers), Alaska Wildlife Troopers, Kenai Police Department and Anchorage police.
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