News Release
January 17, 2008
Contact: S/A Rhett Fonseca
Number: (206)553-1251

Five Alaskans and a Canadian Indicted Charged With Marijuana Distribution

JAN 17 -- (Anchorage, AK) – DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) Harvey L. Goehring and United States Attorney for the District of Alaska, Nelson P. Cohen, announced that five Alaska residents and one Canadian resident have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Anchorage on charges of conspiring to import marijuana into the United States from Canada; conspiring to distribute marijuana in Alaska; laundering marijuana proceeds; and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions involving marijuana proceeds. The indictment also seeks criminal forfeiture of a Wasilla residence allegedly involved in marijuana distribution, and the forfeiture of personal property purchased with marijuana proceeds.

The seven-count indictment named David W. Knutson, age 36, Patrick N. McIlvain, age 31, Rachel H. Ross, age 32, Donald K. Johnston, age 46, and James C. Adams, II, age 39, as defendants. According to the indictment, David Knutson of Vancouver, B.C. regularly supplied McIlvain and other Alaskan co-conspirators with “B.C. Bud” marijuana, in amounts ranging from 80 to 150 pounds, from approximately January 2004 until 2007. The marijuana was smuggled into Alaska inside snow machines and in hidden compartments in inflatable boats and camping trailers.

Assistant United States Attorney James Barkeley, who presented the case to the grand jury, indicated that the law provides for a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, a maximum total sentence of 40 years in prison, a fine of two million dollars, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of each defendant.

The Alaska State Troopers’ Mat-Su Drug Unit, the Drug Enforcement Administration (in Anchorage and Portland, Oregon), the Anchorage Police Department and the Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigations conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.

ASAC Goehring noted that this was an international investigation involving Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement as well as our Canadian counterparts. ASAC Goehring commented that this was another example of law enforcement working together with a safer community being the end result.