Was the passenger at the wrong place at the wrong time?
off of the street!
January 04, 2010 Four men were arrested when their shipment of 23 pounds of Mexican made methamphetamine was intercepted by a 'multi-jurisdictional task force'. This is the largest seizure of meth headed for alaska, according to Karen L. Loeffler, US Attorney General. Ronald Hall, Debra Steilen, Jared Lisenby and Ricky Reese were arrested.
"The case probably started with a CI, a confidential informant"
If buy money of $12,000 was not a tip off to a drug deal, a few clues made it a sure ringer. First, the shipped truck had 300,000 miles on it. After paying shipping charges it was cheaper to buy a truck in Washington. Records show the truck was shipped three times."Why ship an old truck with high miles?"
A second tell is Ron Hall's criminal record. He has been busted for drug deals before. Here is probable cause. A convicted drug peddeler ships a beater truck three times from Alaska to Washington and back, and $12K was confiscated. Maybe Hall was going to buy a new truck. Common sense says otherwise.
Ronnie Hall picked up the truck from the Washington shipper and drove to California. We already know Ronnie was short one lignt bulb from being bright. He didn't spot the cops tailing him for over a 1000 miles!
Once in California, Ronnie met his 'traveling companion', the lovely Ms. Debra Steilen. Debra had a nice '05 model Ford Explorer fitted out with a secret compartment. Drug traffickers have no reason for secret hiding places if they don't have drugs. The press releases alledge Ronnie crossed the border to Mexico three times in a row, December 10, 11th and 12th of 2009 presumably to consumate his drug buy.
Here is a little information about Crystal Methampheatine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methamphetamine
What do you think Mr. Hall was thinking when he waltzed across the border three times without a hassle? Convicted drug traffickers get close scrutiny. The light bulb was probably still out in Hall's brain. Border Patrol agents are pretty wise. The last thing DEA agents wanted was a stop on the border. These guys were after as many of the gang members as they could press charges against, and Ronnie was about to lead them straight to the gang.
After buying his speed, Ronnie and Debbie drove North to Fife, Washington and transportation. The problem with Alaska is Canada. A direct trip from one US port to another avoids customs and an extra vehicle search.
According to the DEA, when Debbie Steilin's suv landed in Alaska, the feds pulled a fast one. They yanked out the crystal meth, and put a fake in it's place. Baking soda looks good. They also put in a little present for whomever opened the secret trap door. They inserted a device that alerted them the minute the compartment was opened. I will tell you why I think that was done in a moment."The feds pulled a fast one"
On December 29th, 2009, Ronnie and Debra flew to Anchorage. A cat by the name of Jared Lisenby picked the drug members up at the airport. He took them to his apartment located at 4610 E. 102nd Ave in Anchorage.
You can Imagine Hall, Lisenby and Steilen yelling at each other about paying big money for a sack of baking soda! This must be a drug dealer's nightmare, first losing $12K, then finding out someone did a switch on the goods! All of those problems might be bad, if they happened, but things were about to get a lot worse."This must be a drug dealer's nightmare"
When the meth dealers opened the secret compartment the alarm went off. Anchorage law enforcement was on the scene. This was a dangerous bust and one must respect the arresting officers for not bragging about the risks they took. They found 16 firearms including a Benelli semi-automatic shotgun capable of cutting down a squadron in a few bursts. They also found multiple rifles, body armor, and approximately 3000 rounds of ammunition. As a prize to law enforcement, they found a ton of money and four pounds of marijuana. Finally Steiling and Hall were probably thinking about their future after the bust.
Here is why the alarm was important. The case against Ron Hall looks good from my point of view. What about Steilen and Lisenby? Riding in a car from California to Washington state, or picking a dealer up from the airport, is not enough for a conviction. The prosecuton's needs to show the pair participated or conspired to participate in the plan to deal the drugs. Possession of the ice makes a pretty good case for dealing or conspiracy to deal. Lisenby had a bag of the methampheamines in his hands when police showed up Steilen and Hall were nearby.
Imagine what the conversation must have been right before the police busted in. Were they going to sell 23 pounds of flour to Ricky Reese or take the loss? Again, just a guess, but with 23 pounds of nothing in their possession, I bet the price had fallen dramatically before law enforcement showed up!
After the three meth traffickers were in custody, a series of negotiations was had. Ricky Reese agreed to meet with the 'source' to make the switch, cash for crystal. Remember, possession is more than 9/10's of the law, possession of 23 pounds of crank means a lot of years dealing with the law.
The meet was finally made and the propietor of Shooters, would soon be wondering what to do with his life, too. The exchange went down in the Costco parking lot on Bragaw Road. The United States Attorney General's Office and a slew of law enforcement agencies had one heck of a feather in their caps. Taking 23 pounds of methamphetamine off of the streets is a real coup. According to Attorney General Karen Loeffler, this is the biggest meth seizure in the history of Alaska!"The exchange of money for drugs went down"
There was a lot of man power in this bust. The investigation was conducted by the DEA in Seattle, Washington. and Anchorage, Alaska and Port of Seattle Police Department. The Anchorage Police Department's Vice and Special Assignments Unit, the Alaska State Troopers Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Enforcement and Major Offender's Unit, the FBI and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, the Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division assisted in the investigation. The cases are being handled by the United States Attorney's Offices for the District of Alaska and the Western District of Washington.
Hall and Steilen were charged with possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. Reese and Lisenby are charged with attempting to possess 500 grams or more of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The mandatory sentence is10 years. Since Ron Hall is 78, he will probably die behind bars. Alaska must be tougher on smugglers. Two men were recently sentenced to lighter terms for the manufacture of meth, a more serious crime.
If the charges stick, the party is over for Reese and Steilen who are in their early 50's. Lisenby loses his youth as he rots in jail. Maybe he will think about the youth he robbed from so many people after peddaling crank and weed to them. Probably not.
Likely, one of the three will roll on the othter two. Dealing methamphetamins, the gateway drug marijuana, and probably coke, crack the big H, a/k/a/ heroin or smack, prescription amphetamines, along with the ice, maybe guns, is typical of dealers. Perhaps that is not the case with these three. I don't know. What we do know is the price of crystal meth in Anchorage will likely rise since some of the hot shots got busted.
Every person has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Allegations are upon information and belief. We must assume all persons are innocent until proven guilty. I have no personal knowledge of this event, make no allegations, have only expressed opinions.