Juneau woman faces drug distribution charge

Juneau merchant Gema G. Thomas, 52, was jailed and is charged with a single count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, and the federal government is moving to seize her commercial assets as the product of drug money, according to U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler.

She is accused of conspiring in July to distribute the drug in Juneau.

Thomas was arraigned in Federal District Court in Juneau before Magistrate Judge Leslie C. Longenbaugh.

Loeffer said in a release that the government will seek, under drug asset forfeiture laws, the property and inventory of Thomas’ downtown business, a tuxedo rental and bridal gown shop as “property derived from the proceeds from drug distribution.”

If convicted, Thomas faces up to a life sentence and a $10 million fine, but prosecutors say under federal sentencing guidelines her actual sentence would depend upon the seriousness of her offense and any prior criminal history.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Juneau Police Drug Metro Unit conducted the investigation.

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This Day in Juneau History: Jan. 19, 1987

On Jan. 19, 1987, with revenues half of what they were the year before and an estimated budget deficit ranging from $700-$900 million, the 15th Alaska Legislature began working on the state’s enormous budget deficit. Everyone was present for the Legislature’s first day except for Sen. Frank Ferguson, D-Kotzebue, who resigned shortly after his election because of health problems. Taking his place was Kotzebue businessman and Native leader Willie Hensley, whom Gov. Steve Cowper appointed for the position until the 1988 elections.

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