Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) Eight arrests were made in an alleged illegal narcotics distribution ring.
A grand jury indicted Melissa Knight, Christopher Gowen, Daniel Carstens, Natasha Knight, Mona Galliher, Courtney Renee Tweedy-Pederson, Thomas Flammini, and Patricia England.
Knight faces charges of first degree misconduct involving a controlled substance. The others face various charges related to illegal narcotics.
The Alaska Department of Law reported the investigation began in 2015 when undercover officers were able to purchase illegal narcotics from these defendants.
Law enforcement was able to seize over 300 grams of heroin, 1,300 grams of marijuana,almost $200,000 in suspected drug cash and over 200 grams of methamphetamine. Two of the defendants remained at large.
Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth was one of 44 state and territorial attorney generals that sent a letter to congress last week urging them to repeal a 2016 federal law called Ensuing Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016. The DEA was prohibited from immediate suspension of a drug manufacturer or distributor that poses an immediate danger to public health or safety under this law. “The federal and state governments need all the tools we can get to help fight the opioid crisis,” said Attorney General Lindemuth. “What the 2016 law effectively did was remove the ability to hold drug manufacturers and distributors accountable for their actions. I join my fellow attorneys general in urging Congress to repeal this dangerous law.”
Nationally, more than two million people in the United States had an addiction to prescription or illicit opioids in 2016. Between 2009 and 2015 in Alaska, 774 drug overdose deaths were recorded according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Of those deaths, 512 had a prescription drug noted as either the primary or contributing cause of death.
This is just one of several actions the State of Alaska has taken to try and combat the opioid crisis. Following Governor Bill Walker’s opioid crisis disaster declaration earlier this year, the State has been working diligently to make an impact, including the recent filing of a lawsuit against the manufacturer of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma. The lawsuit alleges deceptive marketing and promotion activities that have led to providers over-prescribing the opioid.
The states and territories that joined the letter are Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia