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Guilty plea in heroin distribution case

Ketchikan scheme used barges, ferries to bring in drugs

Posted: December 13, 2012 - 12:06am

A man has pleaded guilty to distributing heroin in Ketchikan from September 2011 to May of this year.

Travis E. Straight, 38, changed his plea to guilty in U.S. District Court before Judge Timothy Burgess on Wednesday. He is scheduled to be sentenced in March.

Straight was indicted by a federal grand jury in August on the single charge of conspiracy to distribute heroin. That’s a crime punishable by a minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison.

Straight admitted to contacting co-conspirators in Washington, who supplied the drugs, in September of last year, according to stipulated facts. He received the drugs directly from them and transported the drugs back to Ketchikan either using commercial barge services or the Alaska State Ferry System, according to the stipulated facts. Straight also received the drugs via commercial package delivery services.

Straight paid for the drugs by either providing money to the co-conspirators directly or by depositing money into their Wells Fargo Bank Accounts, according to a written plea agreement that outlines the factual basis of the case. Straight then distributed the heroin in Ketchikan.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt said in May of this year, Straight paid for a shipment of heroin from Washington, and received a commercial package containing at least 410 grams of a mixture that contained “a detectable amount” of heroin. Schmidt said that was intended for subsequent distribution.

Straight was initially charged by the state of Alaska with a felony drug charge in May. He changed his plea in that case in October and is still awaiting sentencing.

Straight’s attorney in the federal case, Michael D. Dieni, requested that when the two sentences run concurrently, or at the same time, when they are handed down.

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

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