A Juneau business owner, who prosecutors described as trying to make a quick buck, will serve two years in federal prison for his role in a drug conspiracy to import ecstasy and cocaine from Washington to Juneau.
U.S. Magistrate Timothy Burgess imposed the prison time, plus three years of probation after his release, for Kenneth Edward Hausinger Friday in U.S. District Court in Juneau. Hausinger, 45, is the owner of Southeast Computers and Photography on South Franklin Street.
Hausinger’s 18-year-old daughter, Natalie Hausinger, attended Friday’s hearing with her mother and said she was shocked when she found out her father had been arrested.
“It’s just not in my dad’s nature to do something like that at all,” Natalie said in an interview.
Natalie was born and raised in Juneau and now attends the University of Alaska Anchorage. During the summers, she works at her father’s store as a manager.
She called it a “stupid” mistake that her father got mixed up in drugs, and said she thinks it was to help her family financially. She said they were struggling to pay routine, but expensive bills like the house payment and expenses for her younger brothers to play hockey.
“I think it was the ‘quick buck’,” she said, crying.
Hausinger and one of his employees, Darren Louis Wigg, 34, were arrested last July after authorities conducted a controlled delivery of a package containing drugs. The Juneau Police Department said at the time the package contained about 3,000 ecstasy pills with a street value of more than $75,000 and about three ounces of cocaine valued at $1,500.
According to a criminal complaint, a Federal Express security specialist for the state of Washington deemed the package suspicious. The senders address in Edmonds, Wash., was valid, but the senders name ‘Mack Wooly’ or ‘Mack Wolly’ was false.
Members of the JPD, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Agency conducted a controlled delivery with sham narcotics to Southeast Computers. Hausinger accepted and signed for the package, according to charging documents.
Authorities observed as he walked to the Alaska Hotel, also on South Franklin Street, and went into room number 301. The beacon authorities placed inside the package alerted, and Hausinger was placed under arrest as he was leaving the hotel with coffee bags from the package which contained the drugs, the complaint says. Authorities went upstairs to the room and found Wigg, who was also placed under arrest.
Both Hausinger and Wigg’s hands glowed under a black light, indicating they had handled the drugs which had been sprayed with “clue” spray and powder, according to the complaint.
During an interview with officers, Hausinger immediately admitted that he knew the package contained cocaine, according to charging documents.
Hausinger admitted to police he was a recreational narcotics user and he was taking a portion of the cocaine as payment for receiving the package, according to charging documents. He said he was supposed to take the remaining drugs to a drop location for another person to pick up.
It was the second narcotics package he has received in the past month, he said, according to the complaint.
He did not know ecstasy pills were also in the coffee bags, his attorney later wrote in a sentencing memo.
Both he and Wigg were indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute ecstasy and cocaine, which can carry up to 20 years in federal prison.
Both men initially pleaded not guilty, but later changed their pleas and entered into a plea agreement.
Electronic court documents indicate Wigg is awaiting sentencing in Anchorage. That hearing is to be held at the end of August.
During Hausinger’s sentencing hearing Friday, Hausinger addressed the court and expressed remorse.
“I do accept responsibility for my actions,” he told the judge. “I wasn’t thinking at the time what I was doing.”
He said as a husband of 18 years and a father of five children, he was particularly upset that he endangered children, many of whom he’s mentored throughout the years as a coach.
“It could have affected other people’s children in the community,” he said. “... I apologize deeply to the people of Juneau.”
Defense attorney Darryl Thompson said he has known his client for years on a personal basis — their kids play hockey together.
“I know this is a good man,” Thompson argued. “He made a bad mistake.”
Thompson specified in a sentencing memo that for the past two winters, Hausinger and his family lived in California so his two sons could compete in the southern California hockey league, but “the fees were running him to ruin.”
“He came back to work for the summer, as he has in past as a self-employed business man catering to the tourists trade, and was deeply in debt,” Thompson wrote. “He made foolish choices to both use and turn over a very small relative amount of cocaine for money.”
Other people also wrote letters to the judge asking for leniency, including a business man in Anchorage, Jun Nagamatsu, who said they used to work in sales together.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt agreed that Hausinger’s motives for trafficking narcotics was solely financial, and the scheme was “an easy way to make a quick buck” for him.
Schmidt said Hausinger’s co-conspirators would sell cocaine for $120 for half a gram, and at that price, the street value of cocaine was a little more over $19,000. The ecstasy pills were to be given to another person for subsequent distribution.
Schmidt said that it turned out that one-third of the pills believed to be ecstasy were actually methamphetamine due to a bad production of the ecstasy. Schmidt said that was unforeseeable, but significantly increased the potential danger to the public.
Schmidt noted it wasn’t known methamphetamine was involved in this case until the crime lab reports indicated so, after Hausinger had already entered into a plea agreement.
Schmidt said Hausinger would arrange for the transport of cocaine from Washington to Juneau, and then distribute the drugs in Juneau and collect drug proceeds from his co-conspirators.
Hausinger has a prior criminal conviction for avoiding city sale taxes in excess of $100,000, which Schmidt said was consistent with a person “whose sole directive is monetary gain.”
Burgess found the presumptive sentencing range for time to serve in prison, using guidelines set forth in the U.S. Sentencing Commission guidelines, was 37 to 46 months in prison.
The judge then granted a request to seal the courtroom so the parties could discuss matters privately, and when the seal was lifted, the judge lowered the presumptive range to 24 to 30 months.
Burgess said he thought 24 months would be sufficient to protect the public and to reflect the seriousness of the crime.
“Nobody’s all good or all bad,” Burgess told Hausinger. “Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has failings. What’s important is how we deal with them.”
Hausinger’s daughter Natalie said her family has been coping with her father being in prison “a day at a time.”
“We really need him out here,” she said, wiping away tears. “It’s really hard not to be able to hug him or hold his hand.”
She said her mother is a businesswoman in Juneau, and her parents met at her mother’s shop 19 years ago. Her father has started several businesses in Southeast Alaska, including a pizza shop in Skagway. He opened up the computer and photography retail shop in 1996. Someone else is running it while he is in prison, she said.
“He really is a great guy,” she said. “ ... That’s why it’s very shocking. We always think of ‘why’ — why he did it.”
• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.