Anchorage Group Indicted on Federal Kidnapping and Drug Trafficking Charges
Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that five Anchorage residents have been indicted on federal kidnapping and drug trafficking charges, among other offenses, in connection with the August 2017 beating and placing of a victim into a dog kennel.
Macauther Christmas Vaifanua, 29, Faamanu Junior Vaifanua, 28, Jeffrey Jeremey Ahvan, 30, Rex Faiva Faumui, 25, and Tamole Tierra Pattijo Lauina, 22, all from Anchorage, were named in the recently unsealed federal indictment. Macauther and Faamanu Vaifanua have both been charged with kidnapping, drug trafficking conspiracy, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking conspiracy. Jeffrey Ahvan and Rex Faumui have been charged with kidnapping, and Lauina has been charged with being an accessory after the fact. All are currently in custody, and are expected to have their arraignment hearings scheduled for this week.
According to the federal indictment, between Jan. 1, 2015 and Aug. 15, 2017, Macauther Vaifanua and Faamanu Vaifanua allegedly conspired to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, quantities of heroin and methamphetamine, all while brandishing a firearm in furtherance of their drug trafficking activities. Furthermore, on Aug. 13, 2017, Macauther Vaifanua, Faamanu Vaifanua, Jeffrey Ahvan, and Rex Faumui allegedly kidnapped and severely assaulted “Victim A,” due to a conflict arising within their drug trafficking relationship and a disputed debt.
Specifically, as alleged in state court documents, on Aug. 13, 2017, the victim was lured into a garage where he was forcibly bound and gagged, and then severely beaten by an aluminum baseball bat, a broom stick, and stomps to the head. The victim was then put inside of a black metal dog kennel, while still bound and gagged. After threatening a person, at gunpoint, in the nearby area to back his pickup truck to the garage door, the four defendants then placed the kennel into the back of the truck, with the victim still inside the kennel. The driver was allegedly held at gunpoint and was told to leave and never be seen again. The victim was then dropped off at the hospital, where he was brought in for emergency treatment for fractures to his face and skull, which required brain surgery.
The federal indictment further alleges that Tamole Lauina provided aid and assistance to Macauther and Faamanu Vaifanua in order to prevent their arrest for the crimes alleged.
If convicted, the law provides a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of $250,000 for the kidnapping charge; a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $1 million for the drug trafficking conspiracy charge; a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years up to life in prison, and a fine of $250,000 for brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking conspiracy; and a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for being an accessory after the fact. Under the federal sentencing statutes, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.
The Anchorage Police Department (APD), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephan A. Collins and Adam Alexander.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.