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Suspected drug dealer arraigned in Juneau court

Vail Thomas enters not guilty plea

Posted: April 2, 2011 - 9:11pm

Another link in the California to Juneau oxycodone ring has been taken out of the drug chain thanks to the efforts of the Juneau Police Department and the drug task force at Seattle’s SEATAC airport.

Vail Barradois Thomas was arraigned telephonically from Anchorage in Juneau’s United States District Court at the Federal Building on Friday

Federal Magistrate Judge Leslie Longenbaugh took the defendant’s not guilty plea from friend of the court Julie Willoughby, who was appointed as Thomas’ consul.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt read the charges.

Thomas was charged with one count of Attempted Possession With Intent To Distribute Oxycodone.

Between June 18 and June 21, 2010, Thomas is accused of knowingly and intentionally attempting to possess the drug with the intent to distribute it.

“I don’t understand why I am being charged with that crime,” Thomas interrupted. “I told them I have a drug problem.”

Judge Longenbaugh warned Thomas about speaking out without consulting his attorney, and that he would have a chance to defend himself against the charge.

The charge is a class felony with a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and three years supervised release.

Thomas stated he is a self-employed maintenance man and landscaper earning roughly $200 a month. Thomas stated ‘his lady’ owns a house in Sacramento where he lived. Thomas stated his Cadillac Deville in being held by the federal government and the only cash he had was the money an inmate has while incarcerated to purchase any sundries.

Schmidt recommended no bail due to Thomas’ lack of ties to Alaska, his past criminal record and potential danger to the public.

Thomas responded by saying, “You don’t have to worry about me your honor,” and held up his handcuffs.

Thomas is being transported to Juneau for trial. An April 8 meet and greet was set by the court, and pretrial motions were set for April 22.

Six additional suspected dealers were indicted on March 30 by federal grand jury for drug trafficking and money laundering stemming from a conspiracy that operated between Southern California and Alaska from 2007 to February 2011, according to District of Alaska United States Attorney Karen Loeffler.

Fifteen people from the two states have now been charged.

Anchorage defendants include Jose Manuel Noyola-Martinez (aka Scooby), 30, Jonathan Manuel Santana (aka Flip), 25, Carlos Olivares, 39, Richard J. Lose (aka El Toro or The Bull), 26, Steven J. Hanson, 50, and Derland M. George (aka Yogi), 26.

California defendants include Adan E Barragan (aka Lalo), 27, Antonio Loera Isidro )aka Tomato), 24, Jair Rios Romero (aka Goofy), 26, Armando Montano-Morales, 38, Albaro Rivera Garcia (aka The Dude), 26, and Juan Carlos Rubio-Maldanado, 27, Ines Gutierrez Gaspar (aka El Camaron or The Shrimp), 48, Panfilo Morales Gonzalez, 56, and Antonio Cardenas Perez (aka Perico), 57.

The indictment against the 15 also includes criminal forfeiture allegations relating to almost $262,000 in cash seized by law enforcement in Anchorage and $720,000 laundered back to California from drug distribution proceeds.

The 15 face mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years to life, fines totaling $4 million and a life term of supervised release.

The FBI, the Anchorage Police Department, the IRS, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives and Homeland Security Investigations were leaders in the indictment.

• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.

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