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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Alaska

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Kodiak Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Drug Distribution and Money Laundering

Anchorage, Alaska B U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that a Kodiak man has been sentenced for money laundering and possessing drugs intended for distribution in Kodiak.

Luke Bunting, 23, of Kodiak, Alaska, was sentenced on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, by Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess to serve 18 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, to include six months of home confinement and 200 hours of community service. Bunting previously pleaded guilty to one count of possession with the intent to distribute, and one count of money laundering.

According to court documents, in 2018, a U.S. Postal Inspector in Anchorage seized three packages that contained various narcotics, which were addressed to Bunting in Kodiak. A subsequent search of Bunting’s Kodiak residence revealed large amounts of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products, psilocin mushrooms, cocaine, and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) packaged for sale. The search also revealed three guns with loaded magazines co-located with the narcotics, approximately $39,500, and several cryptocurrency recovery codes.

The investigation further revealed that, after depositing drug proceeds into various bank accounts, Bunting would quickly move that money through payments to outside sources using applications including Venmo and Coinbase. Cyber specialists at the FBI lent assistance to identify and recover Bunting’s units of Bitcoin, Monero, and Ripple cryptocurrency, all of which were forfeited to the government. The total amount of drug proceeds acquired by Bunting during his illegal distribution enterprise amounted to approximately $327,966 in drug proceeds. 

Bunting was also implicated by several Coast Guard members in Kodiak who stated that Bunting was the source of their narcotics. The U.S. Coast Guard held those members separately accountable and subsequently removed them from the service for their illegal use of drugs supplied by Bunting.

Before imposing a sentence, Chief Judge Burgess commented that he was concerned that Bunting was a “for profit” drug trafficker from a supportive family environment and did not appear to have an addiction to the drugs he was selling in the community. Bunting previously held employment as a substitute teacher at a local high school, but was terminated prior to his arrest in this case.

The Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Kodiak Police Department (KPD), and the Alaska State Troopers (AST) conducted the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of this case. This case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and U.S. Coast Guard Judge Advocate, Lieutenant Sharyl Pels.

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Updated July 8, 2020