22 Indicted For Drug Trafficking and Firearm Offenses
NOV 25 -- (Anchorage, AK) – DEA Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Arnold R. Moorin and the Acting United States Attorney for the District of Alaska, Karen L. Loeffler announced today, November 25, 2008, that a federal grand jury in Anchorage has returned indictments against twenty-two individuals for drug trafficking and firearm offenses.
Twelve defendants were named in one of the indictments and were charged in a violent conspiracy dating back to 2005, involving the distribution of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and crack cocaine. The indictment also alleges the group possessed machine guns in furtherance of their drug trafficking activities and that Juan Manuel Mendiola was the leader of the conspiracy that operated between Van Nuys, California, and Alaska. During the course of the investigation, law enforcement agents seized over six kilograms of cocaine, 500 grams of heroin, one kilogram of methamphetamine, more than a dozen firearms, and over $100,000 in cash. Nine addresses were identified in Anchorage where drugs were received, manufactured, possessed, and/or distributed.
The indictment alleges that “[i]t was part of the conspiracy for the conspirators to use violence and firearms, including machine guns, to maintain control of and protect the conspiracy.” More specifically, the indictment states that Mendiola and Phonesavanh Vongthongdy, a/ka/ “Noi”, possessed firearms, including two MAC-10 .45 caliber machine guns, to further their drug conspiracy. The indictment also states that Seirosa Milo, a/ka/ “Losa”, “ordered a conspirator to assault another conspirator as discipline for violating “house rules” and to intimidate the conspirator from disclosing the conspiracy to law enforcement.”
The maximum penalties for the drug conspiracy charge include a minimum of 10 years in prison and maximum of life in prison, a $4 million dollar fine, and at least five years of supervised release. The possession of machine guns in furtherance of drug trafficking carries a mandatory 30 year consecutive sentence. All other defendants face sentences of at least five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years in prison and a $2 million dollar fine.
Authorities are attempting to locate Phonesavanh Vongthongdy and Vaughan Erickson. Anyone with information on their whereabouts should call the DEA (907) 271-5033 or the Anchorage Police Department at (907) 786-8500.
This was a joint effort by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, Anchorage Police Department’s Drug Enforcement and Special Assignment Unit, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the United States Attorney’s Office.