Federal prosecutors have taken over the case against a Juneau man accused of dealing methamphetamine.
The District Attorney’s Office charged Darrell Walter Dawson, 43, earlier this month with two counts of third-degree drug misconduct for possessing methamphetamine with intent to deliver. Both are felonies punishable up to by up to 10 years in prison each.
District Attorney David Brower moved to dismiss the state’s case during a hearing Wednesday, saying the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska will be prosecuting it instead. Brower said in a later interview that this case fell under federal jurisdiction due to the quantity of drugs involved.
Dawson now faces a harsher charge: conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on that one count Wednesday and arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Longenbaugh in Juneau federal court Thursday.
According to the indictment, Dawson is accused of distributing, and possessing with intent to distribute, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine from January 2011 to July 7, 2012.
If convicted, Dawson could be imprisoned for a maximum of 40 years and/or fined $4 million, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt, who presented the case to the federal grand jury.
Dawson’s trial is scheduled for September, and Longenbaugh ordered that he be detained in federal custody until then.
Dawson was arrested the evening of July 7 after multiple law enforcement agencies — including the Juneau Police Department, Alaska State Troopers, the FBI, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service and Southeast Alaska Cities Against Drugs — conducted a controlled delivery of a package containing about six ounces of methamphetamine, according to an affidavit.
A person, who would later cooperate with authorities, picked up the package at the Mendenhall Post Office and was followed to several locations, including local businesses, and ultimately to a residence on Moraine Way in the Mendenhall Valley.
That person told police he or she was to transfer the drugs, which were hidden inside sugar shakers, to Dawson. The cooperating person then called Dawson to pick up the drugs at the house, where police were waiting for him.
An affidavit states Dawson arrived at the residence at about 11 p.m. on his motorcycle with his girlfriend, who appeared to be conducting counter surveillance at the end of the driveway.
Dawson was confronted by police after he had retrieved the plastic bag containing the three sugar shakers and exited the garage, the affidavit states. He tried to flee, but was arrested and taken to Lemon Creek Correctional Center.
Court records indicate Dawson’s new attorney is James M. Barrett.
• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.