three fairbanks residents indicted by federal grand jury on drug-Trafficking charges
Anchorage, Alaska – United States Attorney Karen Loeffler announced today, July 23, 2010, that Thomas Emmanuel Walker, Stacey Nicole Steinmuller and Tyronne Gee Burkhead, all residents of Fairbanks, Alaska, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Anchorage on charges of importing two kilograms of cocaine – nearly four and one-half pounds – from Panama, and conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute.
The two-count indictment charges Walker, 25, and Stacey Nicole Steinmuller, 24, with both counts of the indictment. Burkhead, 21, is charged with only the second count.
According to the indictment, Walker and Steinmuller are charged with intentionally importing into the United States, from Panama, 500 grams or more of cocaine. The indictment further alleges defendants Walker, Steinmuller and Burkhead conspired to possess with intent to distribute cocaine in Fairbanks, Alaska. The offenses charged in this indictment took place in March and April, 2010, ending with the defendants’ arrests on April 15.
Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Cooper, who presented the case to the grand jury, indicated that the law provides for a maximum total sentence of life in prison and a fine of $4 million for Walker, with a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison. Steinmuller and Burkhead face a maximum total sentence of 40 years in prison and a fine of $2 million, with a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years in prison. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.
United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the State of Alaska Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Enforcement conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.
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.