Three Men Sentenced in California-Alaska Oxycodone Ring – KTUU.com

ANCHORAGE –

A federal judge has sentenced three residents of California’s capital who trafficked oxycodone in Alaska’s capital to lengthy prison terms, after an officer says they “submerged Juneau in a sea of addiction.”

In a Wednesday statement, U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler’s office says U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess this week sentenced 43-year-old Milan Caprice Thomas, 34-year-old Deandre Tyron Dantzler and 31-year-old Richard Melvin Corum. Thomas will serve eight years and nine months in prison, with Dantzler serving 12 years and Corum serving 10; they will also spend three, five and six years under supervised release respectively.

All three men, residents of Sacramento, Calif., were convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone; Thomas was also charged with conspiracy to launder money, while Corum was also charged with witness tampering. Thomas and Dantzler entered guilty pleas, while Corum was convicted of his crimes at a jury trial in July 2013.

Prosecutors say Thomas and Dantzler began ferrying oxycodone to Alaska themselves, carrying pills on their bodies and drug proceeds back to California. Eventually they expanded to hiring couriers to make the flights, then having them supply Juneau-based dealers; the proceeds eventually flowed back through wire transfers to bank accounts.

“Thomas and Dantzler used dozens of people in the procurement, transport, and sale of tens of thousands of oxycodone pills in the Juneau area and Thomas laundered over $1.5 million in drug proceeds through his bank account and that of another co-conspirator,” federal officials wrote. “Corum joined the conspiracy in early 2011 as a source of supply. Due to heavy law enforcement interdiction efforts, Corum was later brought in by Thomas to be an equal member in the conspiracy.”

Corum was the first member of the conspiracy to make news in Alaska, due to both his conviction and his alleged attempts to target witnesses against him. Another defendant, 21-year-old Juneau man Mason T. Baker, was accused of retaliating against a witness in the case against Corum.

“On March 2, 2012, Corum was arrested for his role in the drug conspiracy,” prosecutors wrote. “Corum made numerous threats to potential witnesses against him while awaiting trial. He said, ‘Everyone that is going to testify against me will disappear.’”

In previous coverage of the case, prosecutors said the group had bought Oxycontin for $13 per pill and sold it in Juneau for $30 to $60 per pill, a scheme which netted millions of dollars between 2007 and 2011.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt, who prosecuted the cases, says the criminal effects of the ring on Juneau extended far beyond its own operations.

“During the time of the conspiracy opiate abuse, specifically Oxycodone, was a very large problem within the community,” Schmidt said. “Many side effects of being addicted to a highly addictive narcotic such as Oxycodone riddled the community with burglary, thefts and other things.”

“This multimillion-dollar enterprise submerged Juneau in a sea of addiction,” Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Matthew G. Barnes said in the statement. “The nationwide prescription drug and heroin epidemic is fueled by organizations just like this.”

According to prosecutors, Burgess cited the need to deter the defendants’ conduct and the addictive nature of oxycodone at their sentencing hearings Monday and Tuesday.

Along with the DEA, Loeffler’s office cites the role of police in Juneau and Seattle, as well as Internal Revenue Service investigators, in bringing the case to trial.

Channel 2’s Austin Baird contributed information to this story.

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Three Men Sentenced in California-Alaska Oxycodone Ring – KTUU.com

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