Inmate Sentenced to Federal Prison for Smuggling Heroin into Goose Creek Correctional Center
Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that an inmate has been sentenced in federal court for his role in a scheme to smuggle heroin into the Alaska Department of Corrections (DOC) Goose Creek Correctional Center (GCCC) for distribution to inmates in April 2016.
Spencer Daniel Johnson, 25, who was an inmate at GCCC at the time of the offense, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Gleason, to serve 3.5 years in federal prison, after previously pleading guilty to possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance. Johnson’s federal sentence is to be served consecutively to the 20-year sentence he is currently serving from an unrelated State of Alaska murder conviction in 2015.
According to court documents, Johnson and co-defendant Kalani Lemauga Maalona were both inmates at GCCC, and co-defendant Heaven Leigh Erick was Maalona’s girlfriend who was not in custody at the time. Between April 1, 2016, and April 8, 2016, Johnson worked with Maalona and Erick to smuggle drugs into GCCC for distribution to other inmates. Through manipulation, Johnson convinced a female associate, identified as “L.B.” in court documents, to deliver a package of heroin to Johnson during an in-person “contact” visit at GCCC on April 8, 2016. L.B., age 26, was an associate of Johnson’s, who had no criminal history, did not drive, and did not live independently due to an intellectual disability.
Johnson and Maalona placed a series of recorded jail calls to coordinate the drug delivery. By April 7, 2016, Johnson had provided L.B.’s name and number to Maalona. On an April 7, 2016, jail call to Erick, Maalona mentioned L.B. by name, provided L.B.’s phone number to Erick, and instructed Erick – in coded language – to obtain drugs, package them, and to give L.B. a ride to GCCC the next day. On April 8, 2016, Johnson provided directions to L.B. regarding what to wear in order to conceal the drugs, told her to meet with associates who would drive her to GCCC, and said he would provide her further guidance when the two met at GCCC in person. Despite L.B. voicing hesitation, Johnson coaxed her into following through.
The evening of April 8, 2016, Erick drove L.B. to GCCC, and L.B. met with Johnson. When Johnson hugged L.B., he reached inside the sleeve of L.B.’s shirt where Erick had told L.B. to hide the drugs, and obtained the package. During a brief exchange that followed, Johnson told L.B. she was a “good girl” for carrying out his instructions and assured her nothing would happen to her as long as everything went smoothly. Although Erick could have proceeded directly to her secured visit with Maalona, she stood and watched the drug delivery. GCCC correctional officers quickly observed the contraband exchange, and ordered Johnson to keep his hands on the table. Johnson refused to do so, and before the contraband could be seized, Johnson swallowed the package of drugs he obtained from L.B.
Over the next few days, Johnson refused to surrender the package to DOC personnel. On April 11, 2016, the drug package was surgically removed from Johnson’s body at a local hospital. Laboratory analysis revealed the package contained nearly 20 grams of heroin. Johnson admitted that he was paid $5,000 to smuggle the heroin into GCCC for distribution.
At the sentencing hearing, Judge Gleason noted the seriousness of Johnson’s offense due to the fact that he planned to distribute the drugs inside GCCC, the quantity of heroin Johnson’s crime involved, and that Johnson had involved L.B. in the scheme. Judge Gleason underscored the need to deter the flow of drugs into the prison system.
Kalani Lemauga Maalona, 32, is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 9, 2018, at 9:30 AM. Heaven Leigh Erick, 29, is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 26, 2018, at 2:00 PM. Both previously pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy, as charged in the indictment. Erick also pleaded guilty to a two-count information, which charged her with possessing heroin and cocaine with the intent to distribute the drugs and being a felon in possession of a firearm in Fairbanks one month after the April 8, 2016, GCCC offense.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted the investigation, with assistance from DOC and the Alaska State Troopers Western Alaska Alcohol and Narcotics Team (WAANT), leading to the successful prosecution of this case. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea W. Hattan.