Two Utqiagvik Residents Indicted on Drug Trafficking Charges
Approximately 200 pills containing fentanyl were mailed to Utqiagvik from Arizona through U.S. Postal Service
Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that Bryron Shontell McFadden, 41 and Roberta Ruth Sielak, 30, of Utqiagvik were indicted on drug trafficking charges, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and attempt to possess controlled substances with intent to distribute.
The criminal complaint alleges that on or about January 12, U.S. Postal Inspectors identified a suspicious package mailed from Arizona to Utqiagvik resident Roberta Sielak. On January 13, 2021 the package was intercepted in Anchorage by U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). Further inspection of the package revealed approximately 200 blue pills hidden inside. Preliminary test results, subject to laboratory confirmation, indicated the pills contain fentanyl.
Postal inspectors state they installed a tracking device in the package and delivered it to Sielak’s mailbox. Sielak retrieved the package, placed it in a vehicle and drove to McFadden’s residence. McFadden took the package from Sielak’s vehicle and went into his residence, and allegedly opened the package. Upon realizing there was a tracking device, he fled the residence with the tracking device and disposed of it in a nearby dumpster. McFadden was located by the North Slope Borough Police Department and taken into custody. Sielak was located in her vehicle by Borough police and detained for questioning.
If convicted, Sielak and McFadden may be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the North Slope Borough Police Department, and Alaska's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Anchorage Airport Interdiction Team conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case. The Anchorage Airport Interdiction Team is a Trooper-led drug interdiction task-force staffed by investigators and agents from the Alaska State Troopers, Anchorage Police Department, North Slope Borough Police Department, Anchorage Airport Police Department, Sand Point Police Department, DHS – Homeland Security Investigations, US Postal Inspection Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the US Coast Guard Investigative Service. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Doty.
This case is part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Alaska Rural Alaska Anti-Violence Enforcement Network (RAAVEN) Initiative’s ongoing efforts to increase engagement, coordination, and action on public safety in Alaska Native communities.
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.