Members Of Violent Drug Trafficking Ring Convicted
Two juries return guilty verdicts on Kidnapping, Drug Trafficking, Firearms, and HIPAA Charges
United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today the conclusion of two trials in the past two months, bringing to an end an 18-month investigation into a drug trafficking ring that not only distributed heroin, cocaine, crack, and methamphetamine, but also conducted home invasions, drive-by shootings, committed kidnappings and sexual assaults, and used firearms in furtherance of those crimes.
In November 2013, a grand jury indicted Stuart T. Seugasala, a.k.a. "Tone," age 40, Phosavan Khamnivong, a.k.a. “P.K.,” age 35, Timothy Miller, a.k.a. "Lil Tone," age 26, Anoai Sialofi, a.k.a. "A-Loc", age 26, and Laura Khamnivong (Phosavan’s wife), age 33, for drug trafficking conspiracy. Kidnapping and firearms charges were brought against Seugasala, Khamnivong, Miller, and Sialofi. Seugasala and Stacy Laulu, age 33, were also charged with violations of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Miller, Sialofi, and Laura Khamnivong pled guilty before trial. All of the defendants were from Anchorage, Alaska.
The January 5, 2015, first trial involved the charges against Stuart T. Seugasala and Stacy Laulu. Prior to that, Miller and Sialofi had pleaded guilty to the two kidnapping charges. Laura Khamnivong had pleaded guilty to the drug trafficking conspiracy charge. Seugasala was charged with orchestrating a violent drug trafficking ring that both imported drugs and engaged in home invasions to obtain money and drugs. The jury heard evidence that Seugasala sexually assaulted his victims, including two victims that were raped with a hot curling iron on March 13, 2013. The reason for the brutal assault on the two victims was that one of them had owed Phosavan Khamnivong a drug debt that Seugasala believed had also been owed to him. After the hospitalization of one of the sexual assault victims, Seugasala sought and obtained that victim’s private health information from Stacy Laulu, then an employee of Providence Hospital. The information concerned the extent of the victim’s injuries, and whether the victim was cooperating with police. Seugasala also sought and obtained from Laulu the health information of another victim, whom Seugasala shot on March 15, 2013. Laulu likewise violated the privacy rights of that victim when she disclosed the victim’s personal health information to Seugasala.
On January 16, 2015, a federal jury convicted Seugasala of Drug Conspiracy, two counts of Kidnapping, and two counts of using firearms in furtherance of those crimes. The jury also convicted Seugasala and Laulu with two felony counts of HIPAA violations. Seugasala faces mandatory life imprisonment on the drug conspiracy conviction, two maximum life sentences on the kidnapping and firearms convictions. Seugasala had previously been convicted of two federal drug conspiracy charges in 2000 and served over ten years in federal prison. Both he and Laulu face a maximum of ten years imprisonment on each of the HIPAA convictions.
On February 24, 2015, a separate federal jury convicted Khamnivong of Drug Conspiracy, two counts of Kidnapping, and two counts of using firearms in furtherance of those crimes. During this trial, Khamnivong was identified as the financier for the conspiracy, as well as the person to whom Victim A owed a prior drug debt. At trial, Khamnivong was identified as the man who held Victim A down while Seugasala sexually assaulted Victim A. Khamnivong now faces the possibility of three federal life sentences without the possibility of parole for the drug conspiracy and two kidnappings, to be followed by additional time for the firearms convictions.
Khamnivong also faces eight years in state prison for violating his probation and parole. He was convicted in 1998 of murder in the second degree and was sentenced in that case to serve 25 years with 10 years suspended and was placed on probation for 10 years.
While Assistant United States Attorneys Frank V. Russo and Stephan A. Collins were prosecuting the Khamnivong trial, the DEA arrested Jason McAnulty for attempting to tamper with a witness who was scheduled to testify at the trial. According to an affidavit filed in support of a criminal complaint, McAnulty is alleged to have contacted Victim A and conveyed a message from Khamnivong. The message was that if Victim A did not testify against Khamnivong at trial, Victim A would receive a classic automobile that belonged to Khamnivong. The DEA recorded conversations between McAnulty and Victim A to confirm this attempted bribe. McAnulty was arrested and charged with attempted witness tampering. Magistrate Judge Deborah Smith found probable cause to detain McAnulty pending presentation of the case to the Grand Jury.
The trial evidence at both trials included the graphic and cruel nature of the drug conspiracy. Seugasala would imprison drug users and others in his apartment, located at 1046 W. 26th Avenue, as well as his video gaming business, "Friendly Fire" in Anchorage. He sometimes tortured individuals who owed him money or disrespected him or others in his organization. Seugasala and his accomplices burned people with cigarettes, sexually assaulted them, used firearms on them, and assaulted them in other ways.
In February, 2013, Seugasala, P. Khamnivong, and Miller conspired to mail over five pounds of methamphetamine from California to Alaska. The United States Postal Service intercepted the drugs before they were delivered. The evidence at both trials established that the men lost another pound of methamphetamine during the same time period. On March 13, 2013, the men attempted to collect a drug debt owed by Victim A to P. Khamnivong. Seugasala lured Victim A, as well as another victim, to Miller's apartment at 1046 W. 26th Avenue. When the victims entered, Khamnivong, Miller, and Sialofi drew guns on the victims, duct taped them, beat them, and tortured them for approximately three hours. Seugasala raped the victims with a hot curling iron while telling Victim A that this is “what happens to [people] who don’t pay.” P. Khamnivong stepped Victim A’s head down while Seugasala raped him. Seugasala instructed Miller to videotape the rape of Victim A, which Miller did. Seugasala later showed the video to others to intimidate them and to show them what would happen if they didn't repay their drug debts. .
Seugasala and Khamnivong then put guns to both victims' heads, going so far as handing the gun to the second victim and telling him that he had to kill Victim A, or they both would die. The men were held for approximately three hours, then forced to go to a strip club with the men, where Victim A agreed to pay Khamnivong $50,000 within 30 days. On those conditions, both men were released. Victim A went to Providence Hospital, where he was admitted for his injuries. At the time, Stacy Laulu was a financial counselor of Providence Hospital. The testimony at trial was that Laulu's husband was a close associate of Seugasala, and that Seugasala and Miller continued to deliver drug money to Laulu and Laulu's husband, who was in jail on unrelated murder charges. Seugasala communicated by text message to Laulu and requested information on Victim A's medical condition and whether he was cooperating with authorities investigating the sexual assault. Laulu accessed Victim A's medical records and provided Seugasala with the information. Seugasala also asked Laulu about the condition of another individual, who was treated for a gunshot wound at Providence Hospital on March 15. Testimony at trial indicated that Seugasala shot the man's vehicle as it drove south on the Seward Highway. Apparently the man had insulted Seugasala's companion at a restaurant in the early morning hours of March 15. The bullet disfigured the man's pinky, as well as grazed his neck.
On April 23, 2013, the Valdez Police Department arrested Devon Totemoff and Timothy Miller, after they had arrived in Valdez to sell drugs supplied by Seugasala and Khamnivong. Valdez Police seized Miller's telephone and got a search warrant for it. The Alaska State Troopers executed the search warrant on the phone and ultimately found the sexual assault video from March 13.
In the meantime, the Anchorage Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the FBI Safe Streets Task force were investigating Seugasala and Khamnivong. They observed the two men meet on May 16, and Anchorage Police pulled over Khamnivong's vehicle. When the police officer notified Khamnivong that he planned to search Khamnivong’s vehicle, Khamnivong smashed his car into two patrol vehicles and fled the scene, ultimately escaping. A citizen found a discarded pistol near Stellar High School, which was along the route that Khamnivong's vehicle followed while escaping. Anchorage Police and FBI Safe Streets Task Force members then followed the defendant's wife's vehicle to where she stopped in a parking lot; an officer saw her put a plastic bag in another vehicle. APD obtained a search warrant and found two guns, a small amount of methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia in the bag.
On May 20, 2013, the DEA conducted surveillance of Seugasala, and saw him visit a number of locations around Anchorage. He was stopped by the Anchorage Police Department, who contacted the United States Probation Office. The United States Probation Office directed that the Anchorage Police search the defendant and his vehicle. The police seized nearly $8,000 and Seugasala's cellular telephone. The DEA executed a search warrant on the phone and found the text exchanges between Laulu and Seugasala, as well as text messages with Miller on March 13 to arrange the kidnappings.
Seugasala was arrested by the United States Probation Office on June 12, 2013, the day after the defendant was identified in the sexual assault video. Additional money and cellular telephones were found, including a cellular telephone used by Miller to communicate with both Seugasala and Khamnivong when he was in California obtaining drugs in February.
After he fled on May 16, 2013, Khamnivong remained in hiding until December 4, 2013, when he was arrested by members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force. Agents seized more drugs, guns, money, and drug paraphernalia in the apartment where Khamnivong was hiding.
United States Chief District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline, who presided over the trials, scheduled sentencing hearings for the various defendants in late April through early May, 2015.
United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler noted: “This case was the result of hard work, perseverance and dedication by a myriad of federal, state and local agencies focused on protecting the public safety of our community. The convicted defendants were and are dangerous, violent individuals. We are blessed in Alaska to have such a strong working relationship between and among our law enforcement agencies and partners and we will remain committed to the arrest and conviction of these violent individuals and organizations.”
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force and its Cellular Assistance Survey Team, as well as Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Anchorage Police Department, the Valdez Police Department, the Alaska State Troopers Technical Crimes Unit and State Crime Laboratory, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Department of Homeland Security, Providence Hospital, the United States Marshals, and the United States’ Probation Office. The prosecution of the defendants was coordinated with the State of Alaska Attorney General's Office.