Two alleged drug smugglers plead not guilty

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Chantel Epstein 28, and Kevin Leonard-Tinney face two felony charges after $200,000 worth of methamphetamine was seized at a downtown hotel.

    The pair were charged August 10th when nearly 3 pounds of methamphetamine was seized at a downtown hotel room. Authorities also found over five ounces of heroin and one ounce of cocaine.

    Assistant US Attorney Jack Schmidt said the meth conspiracy and weapons charges hold tough sentences.  If convicted the two would face 15 years to life in prison plus hefty fines.

    They entered not guilty pleas to charges of drug conspiracy and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking.

    A package had been sent to Juneau through the US Mail and was intercepted by authorities.  Juneau Police, the US Postal Inspector, and Alaska State Troopers all contributed to the investigation.

    Schmidt said the case will go through the court system and either end up in a plea or go to trial. "There is a mandatory minimum of 10 years up to life, the gun charge carries five years to life and has to be consecutive to the drug conspiracy charge."

    Epstein had an extensive criminal history for thefts and burglary charges.

    The pair entered the plea before federal magistrate Leslie Longenbaugh.  Epstein is represented by defense attorney Julie Willoughby while Leonard-Tilley is represented by US Assistant Public Defender Jamie McGrady.

    In another case, Annette Miller, who tried to ship methamphetamine to Craig, also pled not guilty to methamphetamine conspiracy charges.  Her case was continued until October 15.  She faces a minimum mandatory of five years in prison, at least five years of supervised release and up to a $10 million fine if convicted.







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