News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 15, 2012
Contact: Jodie Underwood
Number: 206-553-1162

Alaska Drug Distribution Conspiracy Investigation: Final Defendant Sentenced

June 15 (Anchorage, AK) - Dante Whitley, a resident of Vacaville, California was sentenced to 90 months in prison on June 15, 2012, for his role in a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone in Fairbanks, Alaska and a conspiracy to launder financial proceeds from the drug conspiracy. Whitley is the final co-defendant sentenced in the seven member conspiracy. His co-defendants, Wilbert Barber, Justin Shepard, Alex Kurth, Shane Tufford, Lennon Duncan, and Kelly Kilker have all previously been sentenced in Fairbanks for their roles in the conspiracy.

According to information presented to the court, Whitley was involved in a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone pills in Fairbanks, Alaska that began in 2008 and continued through 2010. Whitley was a member of the United States Army and was stationed in Fairbanks where he met Shepard and Duncan. After he was discharged from the military in 2007, Whitley returned to his hometown of Vacaville, California. In 2008, Whitley and Barber began to ship oxycodone pills to Shepard, Duncan, Kurth, and Tufford in Fairbanks.

Whitley and Barber lived in California and would use Kilker and other female couriers to transport the oxycodone pills on their bodies to Fairbanks, Alaska on commercial airline flights. Kurth, Shepard, Tufford, and Duncan would receive the oxycodone pills in Fairbanks and then sell them in the community. Kurth, Shepard, Tufford, and Duncan would send the proceeds of the sale of the oxycodone to Whitley and Barber in California. The money would be sent by making cash deposits into the bank accounts of Whitley and Barber in Fairbanks banks, where the deposits would then be withdrawn in other bank branches in California. Money would also be sent to Whitley and Barber using money wire transfer services, or would be mailed using private mail carriers, or it would be given to the female couriers to carry on their bodies on commercial airline flights. Both Tufford and Shepard were in possession of firearms when they were contacted by law enforcement and taken into custody.

Barber, from Vacaville, California, was sentenced on January 20, 2011, and received a sentence of 120 months in prison and three years supervised release for his role in the drug and money laundering conspiracies.

Shepard, from Fairbanks, Alaska, was sentenced on December 29, 2011, and received a sentence of 67 months in prison and 3 years supervised release for his role in the drug and money laundering conspiracies. His sentence will run consecutive to his conviction in State of Alaska case 4FA-11-00891, where on October 21, 2011; Shepard was sentenced to eight years in prison with three years suspended, five years to serve and three years of supervised release for receiving a package of 26 grams of heroin.

Tufford, from Fairbanks, Alaska, was sentenced on December 30, 2011, and received a sentence of 102 months in prison and three years supervised release for his role in the drug conspiracy. His sentence will run concurrent with his conviction in State of Alaska case 4FA-10-02017, where on September 20, 2010, Tufford was sentenced to eight years in prison with 3 years suspended, five years to serve and three years of supervised release for being in possession of several oxycodone pills, $49,000 in cash, and two firearms.

Kurth, from Fairbanks, Alaska, was sentenced on December 29, 2011, and received a sentence of 30 months in prison and three years supervised release for his role in the drug conspiracy. His sentence will run consecutive to his conviction in State of Alaska case 4FA-10-5083, where on November 29, 2011, Kurth was sentenced to 5 years in prison with 2.5 years suspended, 2.5 years to serve and three years supervised release for selling oxycodone and heroin.

Duncan, from Fairbanks, Alaska, was sentenced on May 11, 2012, and received a sentence of 35 months in prison and three years supervised release for his role in the drug conspiracy.

Kilker, from Fairbanks, Alaska, was sentenced on March 16, 2012, and received a sentence of 48 months in prison and three years supervised release for her role in the drug and money laundering conspiracies.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Fairbanks Police, North Pole Police, Alaska State Troopers, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division, and the Port of Seattle Police Department.

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