Brown sentenced for drug smuggling attempt

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Sallyjean Toutuk Brown received 24 months in prison and five years of supervised release in a hearing today before US District Court Judge Timothy Burgess.

    U.S Attorney Jack Schmidt said Brown was a drug addict who possessed a large amount of methamphetamine and heroin, "This is not her first go-round with drugs.  She was involved in a large drug case before."

    He said Brown was placed on supervision in that case and had difficulties with compliance of conditions.  He said there needs to be some degree of consequence for re-offending.

    He suggested drug treatment and 60 months incarceration.  "The court knows the effect of drugs in the community.  We see people day in and day out getting involved with drugs and drug trafficking.  The most important factor is the protection of the public."

    Public Defender Jamie McGrady told the court her client would like to pursue treatment at a halfway house in Anchorage.   "This is not her first rodeo.  She has received the message this time.  She has never spent significant time in jail."

    McGrady said her client has had a lot of time to think and wants to change her life, "She has thinking errors and thinking of long term consequences.  Miss Brown has a chronic medical condition for which there is treatment."

    McGrady said her client successfully completed federal probation for three years and nine months.  She also held a job and cared for her family.

    "She is not a violent person.  There are no allegations of guns or violence in her history.   She just has a serious drug problem," McGrady added, 
    "She does not need to be warehoused in a federal prison in California to receive drug treatment."

    She objected to a five-year sentence.

    Brown said she apologized to the citizens of Juneau for her negative role that I played in the destruction and things I have caused. "I just want to be a positive role model again and that is what I'm working towards.  I'm grateful that I'm here.  Life could have turned out a lot worse."

    Judge Burgess said everyone in the case understands how serious the drug problem is in the community.  He said people like Brown are not making rational decisions and considering the amount of time they could spend in jail if they are caught.  He said a prison sentence could have a general deterrence in her case.

    "She has a horrible addiction problem.  The trick is finding the appropriate balance.  She needs ongoing drug treatment if she is going to make changes to her life," he added.

    The judge also required Brown to live in a halfway house for six months, and 200 hours of community service during her five years of supervision.

    Brown pleaded guilty to attempting to smuggle $68,000 worth of heroin and methamphetamine into Juneau on April 5, 2018.  She was indicted in federal court one count of possession with the intent to distribute controlled substances.  82 grams of heroin and 276 grams of methamphetamine were seized by Juneau Police.   Authorities said Brown flew from Sacramento, California to Juneau and carried the drugs in 12 ping pong sized balloons in her waistband.  The maximum penalty for the charge was 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine.  The guideline sentence was between 70 and 87 months in prison for this charge.  Judge Burgess said he has ruled before that a drug case involving a mixture of methamphetamine and not pure methamphetamine should have a guideline sentence of between 37 and 46 months.

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