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Press Release

Two Alaska Men indicted for drug and gun crimes, including conspiracy to distribute heroin

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that two men have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that they conspired to distribute large quantities of heroin.  One was also indicted on related gun charges.

James Gwaltney and Baretta Faatafuga, both 37, and residents of the State of Alaska, were charged with conspiring to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute 1 kilogram or more of heroin.  They were also charged in a separate count with attempting to actually possess the narcotics with the intent to distribute them to others.  Faatafuga, a convicted felon, also faces a charge of being a felon in unlawful possession of multiple firearms.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Courter, who presented the case to the grand jury, indicated that both men face a ten-year mandatory minimum sentence on the drug charges, with a maximum sentence of up to life in prison.  The law also provides for a fine of up to $10 million dollars.  Faatafuga faces a separate sentence of up to 10 years in prison on the gun charge.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history of the defendant. 

The United States Postal Inspection Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation that resulted in the indictment in this case. 

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.

Updated January 29, 2015