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Justice News

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

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Washington Residents Indicted by Federal Grand Jury for Drug Conspiracy

Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that two Washington residents have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Anchorage for Drug Conspiracy and Firearm violations.

Layten Scott Banchero, 28, and Scott Evan Banchero, 50, of Seattle, Washington, were both arraigned today before United States Magistrate Judge Leslie C. Longenbaugh on the charge of Drug Conspiracy and criminal forfeiture allegations.  Layten Banchero was additionally charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking charge and felon in possession of a firearm.  Both Layten and Scott Banchero pled not guilty to the charges and criminal forfeiture allegation.  Both were ordered detained by the court pending trial.

According to the indictment, between on or about May 11, 2014, and continuing until July 15, 2014, the Bancheros conspired to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and heroin in Ketchikan, Alaska.  During the course of the drug conspiracy, Layten Banchero, who is a convicted felon, possessed a number of firearms, and specifically possessed a loaded .357 magnum pistol during the commission of the underlying drug offense. Additionally, the indictment seeks to forfeit drug proceeds that total over $38,000 in U.S. currency seized from the defendants.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack S. Schmidt, who presented the case to the grand jury, indicated that the law provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison, a fine of up to $10,000,000, or both for the drug conspiracy charge; the possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense has a mandatory minimum of five years of imprisonment that must be consecutive to the underlying drug trafficking offense, and the felon in possession charge carries a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment; both offenses carry a maximum fine of $250,000.  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 trial is currently scheduled to be held in Ketchikan at a date to be further determined.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Ketchikan Police Department Drug Unit conducted the investigation leading to 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 February 3, 2015