Palmer Couple Sentenced for Drug Trafficking Conspiracy
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Alaska
Investigation Launched Following a Teen’s Overdose Death in the Couple’s Garage
Anchorage, Alaska – Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that a Palmer couple, who were engaged in an extensive conspiracy to bring narcotics from the lower 48 and distribute them in the Mat-Su Valley, was sentenced to prison yesterday for drug trafficking.
U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Gleason sentenced Tod James Rodolph, 41, to serve 12 years in prison and Jessica Elizabeth Hopkins, 36, to serve 78 months in prison. It was also ordered that Rodolph pay a $30,000 fine. Rodolph previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute, possess with intent to distribute, and one count of possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes. Hopkins previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute, possess with intent to distribute.
According to court documents, an investigation was launched by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Alaska State Troopers (AST) on Jan. 10, 2016, when a 17-year-old male, identified as A.F., died of a methamphetamine overdose while consuming narcotics at the home of Rodolph and Hopkins. The investigation revealed that, on Jan. 9, 2016, a group of teenagers and young adults were consuming narcotics in the couple’s garage when A.F. began getting sick and displaying symptoms of an overdose. After being woken up by the teens, Rodolph did not make any efforts to call for medical help nor did he drive A.F. to the hospital due to unwanted police contact. By the time A.F. arrived to the hospital, he was already deceased.
Law enforcement then began investigating Rodolph and Hopkins under suspicion they were distributing narcotics out of their residence. While evidence did not indicate that Rodolph or Hopkins supplied the methamphetamine that ultimately lead to A.F.’s death, Rodolph was eventually found with large amounts of heroin and methamphetamine and admitted to taking numerous flights to Washington state to buy narcotics and bring them back to Alaska. Rodolph admitted that he had taken approximately 20 trips to Seattle and would return with 2-5 ounces of heroin each time. He further admitted to selling the drugs from his residence and that he kept firearms in order to protect himself from being robbed. Hopkins admitted to having full knowledge of the drug trafficking and stated she helped facilitate drug transactions.
Over the course of the conspiracy between January 2015 and March 24, 2016, Rodolph brought in at least 2,080 grams of heroin valued at $624,000.
A search warrant of the residence revealed numerous items of drug paraphernalia, heroin, methamphetamine, scales, and firearms – all which were in plain view and accessible to their 15-year-old daughter.
Acting U.S. Attorney Schroder commended the DEA and AST for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of this case.
Updated April 28, 2017