The son of a Mat-Su Valley state lawmaker entered a guilty plea to a federal drug distribution charge, admitting he was the ringleader of an international “bath salts” distribution ring and offered drugs used in a fatal overdose.
According to U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler’s office, 20-year-old Robin Gattis -- the son of Rep. Lynn Gattis (R-Wasilla) -- pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count of a sprawling indictment, in which he was accused of importing methylone, a drug similar to ecstasy.
During the conspiracy, prosecutors say a Wasilla man identified only by his initials who took methylone Gattis delivered, 20-year-old MGS, died of an overdose last year.
“In a plea agreement filed with the court, Gattis admitted that he was the leader and organizer of the conspiracy, that he directly imported the drugs from China, and that he repeatedly wired money to China or directed others to do so in order to pay for drugs,” federal officials wrote.
Gattis also admitted to making a living as a drug dealer, as well as employing minors in the conspiracy and distribution drugs to minors. According to prosecutors, despite the death of MGS, Gattis continued to deal the drugs that killed him.
“According to the indictment, after MGS died in April 2012, Gattis emailed the supplier in China, advising them of (MGS’s) death and asked them for a refund,” prosecutors wrote. “However, the indictment alleges that less than a month later, Gattis was ordering more methylone from the same supplier.”
Prosecutors have already received guilty pleas from all six of Gattis’s co-defendants, on charges ranging from international money laundering to possession of methylone with intention to distribute. They include Anchorage residents Kevin Rupp, 21, and Haylee Hays, 19; Palmer residents Chad Cameron, 18, and Bren Marx, 20; Stephen Kimbrell, 20, of Soldotna; and Shane O’Hare, 23, of Wasilla.
Gattis has been in federal custody since his arrest on July 31, 2012. Both he and the other defendants face up to 20 years in prison on the charges in the case.
“Representative Lynn Gattis and her husband appreciate everyone’s prayers,” Erick Cordero Giorgana, spokesperson for Rep. Gattis, said in a statement Friday afternoon. “The family also appreciates their privacy during this difficult time.”
U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline has set Gattis’s sentencing date for Nov. 6.
Contact Chris Klint