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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Second Anchorage Man Sentenced to 35 Years in Federal Prison for Kidnapping and Drug Trafficking

Defendants brutally beat victim to near death and put him in a metal dog kennel which they loaded into a person’s truck at gunpoint.

ANCHORAGE – A second Anchorage man was sentenced late yesterday by Chief U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason to 35 years in prison for kidnapping and drug trafficking.

According to court documents, Faamanu Vaifanua, aka “Junior,” 31, and his brother Macauther Christmas Vaifanua, aka “Mac,” 35, distributed heroin in the Anchorage area through the kidnapped victim between January 2015 and August 2017.

Believing that the victim had stolen drugs from them, Mac lured the victim to his home on August 13, 2017. As the victim was leaving the residence, he was led instead into the garage where he was forcibly bound and gagged. The victim was then beaten and tortured for nearly an hour by Junior and Mac and two other co-defendants in an assault that was captured on Mac’s home video surveillance system. The Vaifanua brothers and their co-defendants used an aluminum baseball bat, a metal broom stick and their hands and feet to beat the defendant into unconsciousness, causing severe injuries and permanent disability. After a certain point, believing that the victim was either dead or near death, they placed the victim inside a metal dog kennel while still bound and gagged.

The Vaifanua brothers and co-defendants then threatened a person in the area at gunpoint to back his pickup truck to the garage door. The group loaded the kennel into the back of the truck with the victim still in it. The driver was told at gunpoint to leave and never be seen again. After driving away from the area, the driver stopped to see what had been loaded into his truck. Upon seeing the victim, he immediately drove to a hospital emergency room where the victim received life-saving medical attention including brain surgery.

“Junior” Vaifanua pleaded guilty to federal kidnapping and drug trafficking charges in June 2021.

“This was a calculated act of savagery against another human being, not a random act of violence,” said U.S. Attorney S. Lane Tucker for the District of Alaska. “The Vaifanua brothers will spend decades in federal prison for their complete disregard for human life. Drug dealers across the state should take note – vicious attacks will not be tolerated for any reason. My office is committed to working tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to ensure justice is served.”

“The defendant’s cruel disregard to human life and suffering is appalling,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Donald W. Lee II of the FBI Anchorage Field Office. “When individuals, such as the defendant and his co-conspirators, threaten the safety of our neighborhoods and communities, they will be met with a certain justice.”

“The abuse suffered by the victim is heinous,” stated Anchorage Police Chief Michael Kerle. “The physical, emotional, and psychological effects of this magnitude of trauma are incomprehensible. It is our sincere hope today’s sentencing will aid in the victim’s life-long healing process.”

Co-defendants in this case include:

  • Macauther Christmas Vaifanua, 35, aka “Mac” was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison on kidnapping and drug trafficking charges.
  • Jeffrey Ahvan, 33, pleaded guilty to kidnapping in October 2019 and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Rex Faumui, 28, pleaded guilty to kidnapping in October 2022 and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Tamole Lauina, 25, was sentenced to seven years in prison on being an accessory after the fact charge.  

The Anchorage Police Department (APD), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S Marshals Service (USMS) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephan A. Collins and Adam Alexander prosecuted the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated November 22, 2022