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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 22, 2018

Municipal, State, and Federal Partnership Targets Car Thieves

Series of Indictments Highlight Alaska’s Criminal Enforcement of Anchorage Car Thefts

Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that a federal grand jury in Anchorage has returned a series of indictments over the last few months charging individuals for various alleged firearms offenses arising from a number of vehicle thefts investigated by the Anchorage Police Department (APD).

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska and its law enforcement partners have combined resources to address Anchorage’s car theft problem.  In the past few months, federal gun charges have been filed against 10 individuals, all of whom reside in Anchorage, in connection with a number of stolen vehicle investigations:

  • Jesse Contreras, 24, is currently charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm on two different occasions.  Contreras was stopped by APD while in a stolen vehicle, and has prior state felony convictions for coercion and assault;
  • Christopher Curtin, 30, is currently charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Curtin had burglar and auto theft tools in a vehicle, and has a prior state felony conviction for misconduct involving a controlled substance;
  • Timothy Fyffe, 35, is currently charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Fyffe has a previous vehicle theft conviction with the state of Alaska, and has additional state charges pending for theft and vehicle theft;
  • Jarsis Howard, 40, is currently charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Howard has prior felony convictions for misconduct involving a controlled substance, theft, and failure to register as a sex offender, among other offenses.  Howard has additional state charges pending against him for vehicle theft and failure to register as a sex offender;
  • Cody Iverson, 23, is currently charged with being a felon possession of a firearm.  Iverson has a prior felony conviction for robbery, and has additional state charges pending for robbery and theft;
  • Poly Lomu, 21, is currently charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Lomu has prior felony convictions for theft and vehicle theft, and has additional state charges pending for vehicle theft;  
  • Todd Margerum, 47, is currently charged for being a drug user in possession of a firearm, and for possession of a stolen firearm.  Margerum was stopped in a stolen vehicle and has additional state charges pending for vehicle theft;
  • Antoni Peralta, 31, is currently charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Peralta has prior felony convictions for vehicle theft and robbery;
  • Navy Tauinaola, 35, is currently charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm on three different occasions.  Tauinaola has prior felony convictions for failure to stop at direction of officer and a felony DUI, and has additional state charges pending for vehicle theft;
  • Tony Tuaato, 23, is currently charged with being felon in possession of a firearm and possession of an unregistered firearm.  When Tuaato was stopped, APD recovered a sawed off shotgun. Tuaato has prior felony convictions for vehicle theft and unlawful taking or driving of vehicle, and has additional state charges pending for attempted murder.

 

If convicted, they each face a maximum sentence of ten years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.

In addition, Roy Naughton, 39, of Anchorage, was indicted in December 2017 on federal carjacking charges.  If convicted, Naughton faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and five years of supervised release.

These cases were investigated by APD’s Property Crime Unit, with the cooperation and assistance from the Alaska Department of Law, FBI and ATF.  Several are being handled by a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, who is an Anchorage Municipal Prosecutor on loan to the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute firearm, drug, and violent crime offenses that occur in Anchorage. 

These cases were 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.  Alaska U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder has made partnerships with state and local police departments and prosecutors a cornerstone of this strategy.  The above cases are the result of this partnership.    

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Component(s): 
Updated February 22, 2018