Anchorage Heroin Ring sentenced in Federal Court
Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that Jared Thomas Bowers and Christopher Thomas Mejia, both residents of Anchorage, have been sentenced in federal court in Anchorage for their convictions of the crimes of drug trafficking conspiracy, attempted possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. A federal jury of seven men and five women returned guilty verdicts for Bowers and Mejia on July 29, 2013.
Last week, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline imposed a sentence of 144 months on 23 year-old Bowers. Today, Judge Beistline sentenced 24 year-old Mejia to 181 months in prison. Judge Beisline sentenced Mejia to an additional 6 months imprisonment for violation of supervised release in a previous federal case for his 2007 conviction of felon in possession of a firearm.
According to information presented to the court by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin White Bradley, who prosecuted the case, the evidence presented at trial established that Mejia and Bowers conspired to distribute approximately 97 grams of heroin. They supplied their co-defendant, Rhadames Marmolejos, Jr., with heroin on eight separate occasions, which Marmolejos then sold to an undercover agent working for the Drug Enforcement Administration. Trial testimony established that Bowers provided Marmolejos with heroin for seven of the drug deals. Mejia provided Marmolejos with heroin for one of the drug deals. On February 21, 2013, the United States Postal Service intercepted a package containing over one kilogram of heroin. Investigation revealed that Mejia intended to purchase one pound of that heroin for approximately $30,000. Law enforcement arrested Mejia and Bowers as the two waited in a vehicle to purchase the heroin. The two were in possession of approximately $27,000 in United States currency and a loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol.
Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Beistline noted Bowers’ significant involvement in this drug trafficking conspiracy, as well as his management and supervision of co-defendant Marmolejos. In arriving at a sentence of 144 months, Judge Beistline emphasized the serious nature of the crime, as well as a need to deter further criminal activity. In sentencing Mejia, Judge Beistline noted a need to protect the community, in light of Mejia’s lengthy criminal history. Earlier this month, Marmolejos received a sentence of 84 months, after pleading guilty to the crime of drug trafficking conspiracy.
Ms. Loeffler commends the Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Postal Inspection Service for the investigation leading to the convictions in this case. SAUSA Bradley is a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office funded by the Municipality of Anchorage for the purpose of prosecuting gang-related and violent crime cases.