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Oxy dealer changes plea in federal court

Posted: June 6, 2011 - 9:23pm

The man arrested at Seattle’s International Airport for attempting to bring oxycodone into Juneau from California changed his plea to guilty in Juneau’s United States District Court at the Federal Building on Monday.

“This is the time set for a change of plea hearing in Vail Barradois Thomas,” Federal Judge Timothy Burgess stated. “Did I say that right? Was I close?”

“I am still trying to figure that out myself,” defendant Vail Barradois Thomas, 31, replied.

Thomas told the court he had a high school diploma and had held various jobs including with the California Conservation Corp., Sacramento Conservation Corp., working as a janitor and also as a delivery driver before his drug habit took control of his life.

Thomas was charged with one count of possession with intent to deliver oxycodone.

Burgess stated that the government would have had to prove that between June 18-21, 2010 in Alaska and elsewhere, that the defendant attempted to possess oxycodone with the intention of delivering it to another person, and did make a substantial step in doing that.

The charges stem from Thomas’ arrest in Seattle by the Juneau Police Department and the drug task force at Seattle’s airport on June 21, 2010.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt had stated earlier that Thomas was one of the major dealers of oxycodone in Juneau.

“We have made a concerted effort in oxycodone prosecutions,” Schmidt said. “We are making a concerted effort in narcotics in general. We have gotten renewed assistance from the FBI and the JPD in directing towards these prosecutions.”

Schmidt told the court what he thinks the government would have proved at trial, that between June 18 and June 21 Thomas did knowingly possess and attempt to deliver the drugs to another person. Schmidt said Thomas made a substantial step in committing that crime by boarding a flight in Sacramento Calif. bound to Juneau.

Thomas had a stop over in Seattle on the June 21 flight and was contacted by the task force. After a search he was found to have in his possession 185 oxycodone tablets of 80 mg. strength.

Thomas admitted at the time he was transporting the pills for distribution in Juneau.

As part of his plea deal Thomas will not be prosecuted further for any other offense related to the events that led to the charges in the case.

Thomas could face the maximum penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $1 million, and from three years to life of supervised release.

Burgess will schedule a sentencing hearing at a later date pending the probation office’s presentencing report after they interview Thomas.

“I appreciate you being here your honor,” Thomas said to Judge Burgess. “In person.”

“I am glad to be here,” Burgess replied. “I want to make sure if you have any questions about this process you ask me about them, at any time during the course of this case.”

• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at

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