Calif. man gets 42 months for funding drug couriers

A Sacramento man has received a 42 month prison sentence for conspiring to distribute oxycodone in Juneau.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess imposed the sentence for Travell Demar Pinkston, 24, during a hearing in Juneau’s Federal Building on Wednesday.

Prosecutors say Pinkston paid for airline tickets for drug mules who would carry oxycodone pills on flights from California and Nevada to Juneau.

According to the indictment, the oxycodone pills were all bought in Sacramento. Pinkston would then arrange the travel and pay the airfare for couriers from Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, and Reno, Nev. The couriers, who were not identified in court documents, would then travel to Alaska with the drugs on commercial flights.

The conspiracy lasted from November 2008 to September 2010, according to charging documents. A total of at least 7,500 oxycodone pills were transported during its duration, according to the documents.

Pinkston was indicted by a federal grand jury in January 2011, along with co-defendant Deandre Tyron Dantzler, who prosecutors say supplied the pills. Both were charged with a single count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.

That’s a felony that can carry up to 20 years in federal prison, a $1 million fine and three years of supervised release.

Pinkston was arrested in Sacramento in February 2011. He pleaded guilty in August.

Dantzler pleaded guilty in July, and is scheduled to be sentenced next May.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Pinkston’s attorney Steven Wells said his client had no criminal history, and he was just a “small fish caught up in a large net.”

When given the opportunity to address the court, Pinkston apologized the state of Alaska, and to his family.

“I let them down, especially my son,” Pinkston said.

He added he could have made good decisions, but he made bad ones. He said he wants to enroll in programs at the prison to improve himself.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt prosecuted the case.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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