News Release
December 28, 2006
Contact: Jeff Eig

Indictment Alleges That Ranes and Shine Killed Tom Cody,
Missing Since June 2005

DEC 28 -- (Anchorage, Alaska )– United States Attorney Nelson P. Cohen announced that on December 15, 2006, a federal grand jury in Anchorage, returned a superseding indictment against several members of a marijuana trafficking organization that was dismantled last spring. The new indictment alleges that Thomas Ranes, 32, and Nopenone Dennis Shine, 43, were involved in the murder of Thomas Cody on June 1, 2005. Ranes and Shine allegedly planned to kill Cody to remove him as leader of the conspiracy. According to the indictment, Shine shot Cody with a 9 mm Beretta, which was fitted with a homemade silencer, near Cody’s residence at 6621 Our Own Lane in Anchorage. The indictment alleges that Ranes then met with Shine south of Anchorage in order to assist him. That evening, the indictment further alleges that Ranes and Shine disposed of the evidence of the murder in Jim Creek area in the Mat-Su Valley and burned the vehicle that Cody had been driving, a 2004 Ford Explorer belonging to Ranes.

The superseding indictment charges 13 men, including two new defendants, as being members of an international drug trafficking ring responsible for importing and trafficking at least $10 million worth of marijuana during the past five years. On April 22, 2006, federal and state investigators seized approximately 347 pounds of marijuana from Ranes and Shine’s welding and towing shop in Anchorage. The new indictment brings the total number of defendants charged to seventeen. Four of the previously charged defendants have pled guilty.

The new indictment alleges that it was part of the conspiracy for the members to use violence and firearms to maintain control of and protect the conspiracy, to ensure the repayment of debts, and to intimidate potential competitors or to remove members of the conspiracy. To this end, the new indictment alleges that Cody and Murphy had arranged for other individuals to assault and to do physical harm to a former conspirator and prospective competitor, who was shot five times on January 10, 2003, in Anchorage. In addition, the new indictment charges William Yancy, 42, with intimidating Ranes at the request of Cody. Yancy and Yin Miu, 35, both residents of Anchorage, are also alleged to be marijuana distributors in the new indictment.

These indictments clearly demonstrate that there is a correlation between drug trafficking and violence – no matter the type of drug,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Rodney Benson. “All drugs pose a significant threat to our communities and children, and DEA is committed to working with our federal, state and local partners in law enforcement to target the most violent drug trafficking organizations.”

The maximum penalties for conspiracy to import marijuana and for conspiracy in relation to drug trafficking are a minimum of 10 years in prison and maximum of life in prison, a $4 million dollar fine, and at least four years of supervised release. The advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines provides for a sentence of life in prison in the case of a murder committed in relation to a controlled substance offense.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Alaska State Troopers Major Offender’s Unit, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Anchorage Police Department. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachments in Whitehorse and Vancouver provided assistance.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.