Juneau Alaska Police Attempt Bogus Felony “Tampering With Physical Evidence” Against Man Who Swallowed Something They Can’t Identify

August 19, 2012

JUNEAU, ALASKA – A Juneau man is learning the hard way that when caught smoking a joint on the street, the trick is not to conceal the evidence by eating it.

Police say they forwarded felony “tampering with physical evidence” charges against a 24-year-old man after he apparently ingested a marijuana joint when confronted by a police officer.

Lt. David Campbell said in a interview that a police officer was patrolling the downtown area last Friday and smelled the marijuana at the intersection of Fourth and Harris Streets.

The officer located the man, then observed him eating the joint, Campbell said.

The man was not arrested, but JPD forwarded the charges to the District Attorney’s office per their request. His name was not released.

Campbell said this is something that happens periodically.

“People don’t understand that having the marijuana is a class ‘B’ misdemeanor, which is like one step above running a red light. Then when they destroy it, and they’re tampering with physical evidence, that’s a higher charge,” Campbell said.

Tampering with physical evidence is a class ‘C’ felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

If the man didn’t ingest the joint, he would likely only be facing misconduct involving a controlled substance in the sixth-degree. That maximum penalty for that misdemeanor is 90 days in prison and a $2,000 fine.

Alaska law allows a person to possess less than four ounces of marijuana (plant or dried) in the home, but not in public.

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Crazed Alaska State Police Troopers Arrest And Jail Man For DUI For FLOATING DOWN A RIVER ON A RAFT

August 2, 2012

FAIRBANKS, ALASKA — A Juneau man faces a rare DUI charge for allegedly having a 0.313 breath-alcohol content as he floated through Fairbanks on an inflatable raft Sunday night.

Alaska’s driving under the influence law applies to people operating motor vehicles, water craft and airplanes. The vast majority of charges are for terrestrial motor vehicles.

But when Alaska State Troopers received a report of a “heavily intoxicated” man floating down the Chena River near the Parks Highway bridge at 6:40 p.m. Sunday, a wildlife trooper boat responded and arrested 32-year-old William Modene.

“Modene had been floating on the river for the day and consuming alcoholic beverages the entire time,” troopers wrote in their “daily dispatches” log on their website.

At 0.313, Modene’s breath-alcohol content was almost four times the legal limit for operating a vehicle, 0.08.

Modene was arrested without incident and was cooperative with troopers, trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

Modene posted $2,500 bail on Monday, according to the Alaska court system website.

Under Alaska’s DUI law, operating a water craft means to “navigate a vessel used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water for recreational or commercial purposes on all waters, fresh or salt, inland or coastal, inside the territorial limits or under the jurisdiction of the state.”

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Alaska Suing Obama Administration Over EPA Regulations Targeting Ships In The State’s Waters – New Federal Regulations Will Jack Up Already High Costs Of Shipping And Cruise Ship Operations In Alaska Waters

July 14, 2012

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – The state of Alaska sued the Obama administration on Friday to block environmental regulations that would require ships sailing in southern Alaska waters to use low-sulfur fuel.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, challenges the new federal regulations, which require the use of low-sulfur fuel for large marine vessels such as cargo and cruise ships.

The rule is scheduled to be enforced starting on August 1 by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard for ships operating within 200 miles of the shores of southeastern and south-central Alaska, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit faults the EPA, the Department of Homeland Security and others for using a marine treaty amendment as the basis for the new federal regulations without waiting for ratification of that amendment by the U.S. Senate.

The Alaska Department of Law said in a statement that the low-sulfur-fuel requirement would be costly, jacking up prices for products shipped by marine vessel and harming Alaska’s cruise industry.

“Alaska relies heavily on maritime traffic, both for goods shipped to and from the state, and for the cruise ship passengers who support thousands of Alaskan jobs,” Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty said in a statement.

“There are reasonable and equally effective alternatives for the Secretary and the EPA to consider which would still protect the environment but dramatically reduce the severe impact these regulations will have on Alaskan jobs and families.”

Totem Ocean Trailer Express, a major shipper operating in Alaska, estimates that the move to low-sulfur fuel will increase its costs by 8 percent, Geraghty said.

A spokesman for EPA’s Seattle regional office was not immediately available to comment on the lawsuit.

The treaty amendment at issue is a 2010 agreement under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, or MARPOL. The United States has signed onto MARPOL, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has accepted the 2010 amendment.

Domestic enforcement of the amendment is not permitted without ratification by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate, Assistant Alaska Attorney General Seth Beausang said. He said the EPA also erred by failing to conduct an environmental analysis.

“The only thing they relied on was the treaty amendment in issuing the regulations,” he told Reuters, adding that Alaska was not coordinating its effort to overturn the regulations with any other state.

The lawsuit names as defendants the EPA and its director, Lisa Jackson, the Department of Homeland Security and Secretary Janet Napolitano, the Coast Guard and its commandant, Admiral Robert Papp, and Clinton.

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Heros “Hack” Alaska DOT Construction Signs – “IMPEACH OBAMA” – Dumbass State Workers Never Locked Control Boxes

July 8, 2012

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA — Several electronic road construction signs around Anchorage were hacked late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Signs that normally display closure and detour information, like the one on Minnesota Drive near 100th Avenue, were changed to read “Impeach Obama.” That particular sign wasn’t fixed until sometime between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Thursday.

It happened because DOT says it doesn’t lock the boxes on the signs that hold the message control pad.

Construction managers say sign-hacking has never happened before, so they never thought to lock the boxes.

DOT says that changed this morning, and now all of them will be locked.

“I’m sure somebody thought it was a pretty funny joke but we try to convey a lot of important information with these signs,” said Tim Croghan, a regional construction engineer for DOT.

Tamara Douglas snapped a picture of the sign message around 6 a.m. Thursday.

“(‘Impeach Obama’) was the only thing that was on the sign,” Douglas said. “It was coming in and out and just said that over and over again.”

DOT says anyone caught tampering with construction signs could face charges of criminal mischief, which is a Class A misdemeanor.

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2 Coast Guard Members Shot And Killed At Alaska Base

April 13, 2012

KODIAK, ALASKA – Two Coast Guard members have been shot dead on an island off Alaska’s coast, prompting the lockdown Thursday of their base and at least one nearby school.

The Coast Guard offered few immediate details Thursday afternoon as to how, when or why two of its own were killed. Capt. Jesse Moore did acknowledge, though, “It is possible the suspect remains at large.”

“We are deeply saddened that we lost two shipmates,” Moore said in a news release. “This is a rare occurrence, and we are going to do everything possible to ensure we find out exactly what happened.”

The victims, who have not been identified by name, were members at the Coast Guard Communications Station Kodiak.

Their base is on what the city of Kodiak’s website calls the second-largest island in the United States, situated in the Gulf of Alaska about 250 miles southwest of Anchorage. The borough of Kodiak Island has about 13,600 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Peterson Elementary School, which is on Coast Guard property in Kodiak, went into lockdown mode around 8:30 a.m. (12:30 p.m. ET) after school leaders got a call from military police, Principal Beth Cole said.

By 11 a.m., they shifted to “lock in” mode — allowing for more movement within the school, though lunch was still delivered to students in their classroom as a precaution, said Cole. No people were allowed in and out of the building all day.

Six other schools — three elementary, one middle and one high school — on the island were also affected, school district Superintendent Stewart McDonald said.

Those schools were on “lock in” status starting at 11:30 a.m. so that activities could continue as normal, except for the fact no one could enter or leave the buildings. At the time, Kodiak High School was hosting an Alaska Association of Student Government meeting involving youth from around the state.

All restrictions for the district’s roughly 2,200 students were called off about 1 p.m. after state troopers called school officials and said that operations could return to normal, according to McDonald.

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$77,000,000 Taxpayer Funded Runway Planned In The Middle Of Nowhere

September 28, 2011

ALASKA – Remember Alaska’s “Bridge to Nowhere,” a $400 million span that was supposed to connect Ketchikan to its airport on sparsely inhabited Gravina Island? The project gained infamy in 2005 as a waste of taxpayer dollars and the funds earmarked for it were withheld. The 8,000 residents of Ketchikan continue to be connected to their airport by ferry.

Fast forward six years and another remote Alaskan airport project is raising questions about how the government spends money.

The price this time is $77 million and the place in Akutan, a remote island village in the Aleutian chain, according to a report from the Alaska Dispatch.

By next winter Akutan is scheduled to have a 4,500-foot-long runway, built at a cost of $64 million ($59 million in federal and $5 million state funds), the Dispatch reports. The problem is, the runway is on Akun Island, 6 miles from the village across the treacherous waters of the Bering Sea. Plying those waters can be tricky with seas over 6 feet and winds above 30 mph.

Original plans called for using a hovercraft – at a cost of $11 million – to ferry passengers from Akutan to Akun. But, the Dispatch points out, the same model hovercraft planned for the route has proven unreliable under similar conditions elsewhere in Alaska. And when it did run, operating losses were in the millions.

Now, transportation officials are considering using a helicopter to ferry passengers from Akutan, according to the Dispatch report. Cost of that is still being determined.

Should officials get it all figured out and funded, who’ll benefit? Akutan has a year-round population of 100, but that spikes to about 1,000 in the summer when Trident Seafoods processing plant, the largest seafood processing plant in North America, is in operation, the Dispatch reports. Trident is contributing $1 million to the project, the Dispatch says.

And why is this necessary? Air service to Akutan is now provided by World War II-era amphibious aircraft operated by Peninsula Airways. Those are becoming increasing difficult to maintain, Peninsula Vice President Brian Carricaburu told the Dispatch.

Carricaburu also says the runway could cut the government’s costs in one way. Peninsula Airways routes to Akutan are now subsidized by about $700,000 annually under the federal Essential Air Service program. Using bigger, more efficient aircraft could bring that cost down, he told the Dispatch.

But to reach that point, it looks like a lot of figurative bridges have to be crossed.

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Veteran Alaska State Trooper Eric Burroughs Charged With DUI After Drunken Wreck In State Vehicle – Almost 2 MONTHS After Crash

June 8, 2011

ALASKA – An Alaska state trooper has been charged with drunken driving nearly two months after police say he drove a state-owned SUV into two vehicles in Eagle River, court records show.

The veteran trooper investigator, Eric Burroughs, had a blood alcohol level more than five times the legal limit to drive, even hours after the collisions, according to charges filed in court this month.

Burroughs, 44, fled from one of the accidents, leaving his front license plate at the scene, charges say.

Burroughs showed signs of impairment the night of April 8, when Anchorage police found him slumped inside the unmarked, blue Ford Explorer issued to him by troopers.

A trooper for 13 years, Burroughs is now charged with drunken driving and failing to report a collision, both misdemeanors. He has not worked since the incident and remains on paid administrative leave, collecting $3,649.50 in pay every two weeks, troopers said.

Col. Keith Mallard, the head of the troopers, said in May that the agency would conduct an internal investigation into the incident. A trooper spokeswoman declined to say Tuesday whether that investigation is under way.

Police spokeswoman Anita Shell refused to talk in detail about the case. She referred questions to the Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals. Calls to the OSPA’s director went unanswered Tuesday.

According to charges filed in court June 2, the trouble began when Burroughs was driving the Explorer on Driftwood Bay Drive and struck a Chevrolet pickup.

Police spotted tire marks that indicated Burroughs hit the accelerator after colliding with the Chevy, the charges say.

While police found a license plate from the Explorer at the site of the accident, it’s unclear what first led officers to Burroughs’ house two blocks away. The unmarked vehicle was registered under a fake name, a common practice, said Mallard, the trooper commander, in May.

When police found Burroughs just before 7 p.m. outside his home, he was still in the driver’s seat of the Explorer with his chin on his chest, charges say. The SUV had just slammed into Burroughs’ own Toyota 4Runner, according to a police report.

The Explorer’s front license plate was missing, the charges say.

The court papers say Burroughs’ eyes were closed. He only responded to police when they shook him. He was unable to perform field sobriety tests, according to the charging document.

An ambulance drove Burroughs to a hospital. After police received a search warrant for his blood, a technician drew two vials for testing at about 10:50 p.m., the charges say.

A later analysis showed more than 0.40 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, according to the court documents. The legal limit to drive is 0.08.

“By anybody’s standards, that’s a lot of alcohol on board,” said Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew, who spoke briefly about the case Tuesday.

Asked why the charges came eight weeks after police say they first found Burroughs intoxicated inside the trooper vehicle, Mew said the case hinged on lab results.

“The nature of the evidence, plus the follow-up work necessary, plus (a) change of command (at OSPA) I think all added up to making this case take a little bit longer to get through the system,” he said.

Burroughs was on the job the day of the collisions but off duty when the crashes occurred, Deputy Commissioner of Public Safety Robert Gorder said in May.

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