Feds wrap up Kodiak drug trafficking investigation, announcing 13 convictions

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Federal prosecutors have wrapped up a case in Kodiak that resulted in 13 convictions for drug trafficking activities in the island community.

Federal prosecutors say the investigation began in 2016 in reaction to “community outrage over significant drug use, drug trafficking, and other drug related crimes in Kodiak.” The Coast Guard Investigative Service worked with federal and local law enforcement agencies in the endeavor.

Investigators found that drugs like heroin and methamphetamine were brought to Kodiak through common carriers and by human couriers on airplanes. Several people were found to also illegally possess firearms in the course of the investigation. Others were convicted of money laundering for sending payment for illegal drugs to suppliers outside of Kodiak.

Thirteen people were convicted in the investigation, though investigators say not all defendants were working together or associated with one another.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says these 13 defendants were not members of the Coast Guard. A separate investigation in the fall of 2018 resulted in 12 Coast Guard members facing criminal prosecution under the Uniform Military Code of Justice, and six more being disciplined and separated from the service. The names of those 18 Coast Guard members were not released.

Ten law enforcement agencies were involved in the case outlined this week, prosecutors wrote, including the Coast Guard Investigative Service, FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, DEA, IRS Criminal Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Kodiak Police, State Troopers, Anchorage Airport Police, and Anchorage Police.

“This collection of criminals has been trafficking drugs and bringing devastation to the Kodiak area for years,” wrote Justin Campbell, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge of the Seattle office, in a release. “The role of IRS CI in narcotics investigations is to follow the money. The laundering of profits from unlawful drug sales is as important and essential to drug dealers’ operations as the distribution of their illegal drugs.”

U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder said the coordination made a big difference in the small town. “The rural areas of Alaska are every bit as devastated by drug abuse as the cities,” he wrote in the release. “However, a coordinated investigation by a dedicated group of investigators and prosecutors can make a real difference in a small town.”

Prosecutors named 13 people who are already convicted and sentenced for drug and weapons crimes in Kodiak:


  • Christopher Arndt, 40 of Kodiak, was sentenced March 7 of this year to serve nine years in prison and four years of supervised release after being convicted of one count of drug conspiracy and one count of money laundering conspiracy.

  • Wahyu Sanjoyo, also known as “Mike” or “Kodiak Mike”, 37 of Kodiak, was sentenced August 6, 2018 to serve 10 years in prison followed by 5 years of supervised release after his conviction on one count of possession of controlled substances with the intent to distribute, and one count of possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking.

  • Jose Rodriguez, also known as “Bird,” 31 of Kodiak, was sentenced on April 5, 2019 to serve five years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, after being convicted of one count of attempted possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute.

  • Ann Nava Vega, 41 of Chula Vista, California, was sentenced Dec. 7, 2017 to serve 59 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, following her conviction of one count of possession of controlled substances with the intent to distribute.

  • Nathan Gambrell, 44 of Kodiak, was sentenced on Dec. 20, 2017 to time served, followed by three years of supervised release, after being convicted of one count of felon in possession of a firearm. He has since violated the terms of his supervised release and was re-sentenced to 11 months in prison.

  • Joshua Cislo, 33 of Kalispell, Montana, was sentenced on Jan. 26, 2018 to serve two years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release after being convicted of one count of drug conspiracy.

  • Leonard Parker Taylor, 49 of Seattle, was sentenced on January 29, 2018 to serve two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release after being convicted of one count of drug conspiracy.

  • James Gerrity, 31 of Kodiak, was sentenced March 8, 2018 to serve 21 months in prison, followed by four years of supervised release, after being convicted of one count of drug conspiracy.

  • Santos Lopez, 42, of Kodiak, was sentenced March 9, 2018 to serve 46 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release after being convicted of four counts of drug distribution.

  • Joshua Herlad, 37 of Kodiak, was sentenced April 9, 2018 to serve three years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, after he was convicted of one count of drug conspiracy and one count of money laundering conspiracy.

  • Lorie Wenzel, 58 of Lodi, California, was sentenced April 6, 2018 to serve three years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, after she was convicted of one count of money laundering conspiracy.

  • Josie Harvey, 33 of Renton, Washington, was sentenced Sept. 9, 2018 to time served, followed by three years of supervised release after being convicted of one count of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute.

  • Leigh Ann Massengill, 44 of Anchorage, was sentenced April 9, 2019 to serve 57 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release, after being convicted of one count of drug conspiracy and one count of money laundering conspiracy.



 
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