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Palmer Couple Indicted for Maintaining Drug Residence Where Teenager Died from Drug Overdose

MAY 19 (ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – On May 18, 2016, an indictment was returned charging a Palmer couple with multiple drug and gun felonies, including one count of maintaining a drug house where a teenager overdosed and died earlier this year.

Tod James Rodolph, 40, and Jessica Elizabeth Hopkins, 35, are both named in the five-count indictment. The first count charges the couple with conspiring with each other and others to distribute both heroin and methamphetamine. They are also charged with using their Palmer home to both use and distribute drugs. Finally, the couple is charged with possessing several firearms in furtherance of their drug crimes. The indictment separately charges Rodolph with possessing both heroin and methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it and with being a convicted felon in possession of four firearms.

It is alleged that, over the course of 2015 and early 2016, Rodolph traveled from Alaska to the area of Seattle, Washington, approximately 20 times to purchase large quantities of heroin and methamphetamine. He then traveled back to Alaska where he sold the drugs for profit.

The indictment stems from an investigation launched by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Alaska State Troopers (AST) into the death of A.F., a teenager who attended a party at Rodolph and Hopkins’ residence, consumed drugs, and later died. According to the indictment, Rodolph and Hopkins’ drug trafficking activities created an environment in which their teenage daughter and her friends were able to consume illegal drugs at their Palmer residence. The indictment goes on to allege that, in the early morning hours of January 10, 2016, A.F. consumed drugs at the house and began having a negative reaction. When Rodolph learned of the teenager’s condition, he failed to call 911 and instead instructed another teenager to drive A.F. to the hospital. A.F. later died of what the medical examiner determined to be the acute toxic effects of methamphetamine.

Both Rodolph and Hopkins face a mandatory minimum penalty of five years up to 40 years in prison for their involvement in a drug conspiracy, plus an additional five years on the gun charge. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history of the defendants.

The charges against Rodolph and Hopkins are the latest in the ongoing efforts of federal and state law enforcement to combat the increasing prevalence of heroin and methamphetamine in our community.

The DEA and the AST, as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) all contributed to the investigation leading to the indictment in this case. Rodolph and Hopkins will be arraigned in federal court in the coming days.  

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.

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