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Suspected drug dealer and 'mule' arrested near airport on Wednesday

Posted: April 12, 2013 - 4:24pm  |  Updated: April 13, 2013 - 11:07pm

A suspected drug dealer and a female drug courier were arrested near the Juneau airport on Wednesday, police say.

Police contacted Katrina M. Costello, 22, as she was walking out of the airport toward the Extended Stay Hotel, where Orion M. Seal, 29, was waiting in his car to pick her up, according to charging documents.

When police told her they had a warrant to search her, she “threw up her hands and said ‘You might as well take me to jail. You want me to just take it out now?’” according to an affidavit filed by prosecutors.

The search revealed she carried a little over two ounces of heroin (61 grams) — as well as 15 grams of hashish, 30 oxycodone pills and nine strips of Suboxone, a narcotic medication for opiate addiction — on a return Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle.

According to the affidavit, the case began when the Juneau Police Department received a tip that Seal was trying to obtain heroin via a drug courier on Alaska Airlines. A woman, identified only as a “female witness” in court documents, reported to police that Seal wanted her to be a mule and to take the next flight out of town to obtain heroin.

Police then obtained warrants on April 8 to record conversations between a “male witness” working with police and Seal. During one conversation, Seal instructs the witness to purchase a one-way ticket for Costello while he would take care of her return flight back to Juneau, the affidavit states.

In a text message, Seal promises to give the witnesses “fire,” or heroin, for paying for Costello’s ticket. “I promise you I WILL plug you up hella fat when she gets back bro,” the text reads, according to the affidavit.

Seal and Costello were both charged with two felony counts of second-degree drug misconduct — one count for possessing heroin with intent to deliver and the other for possessing oxycodone with intent to deliver. Second-degree drug misconduct is a class ‘A’ felony that can carry up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Police said in a press release that when Seal was arrested Wednesday, he did not have drugs on his person, but was charged since he “arranged the importation and was using Costello as a ‘mule’.”

Both defendants are currently in custody at Lemon Creek Correctional Center. They were arraigned on the charges in Juneau District Court on Thursday afternoon.

An attorney for Costello said in court that Costello is three months pregnant and requested she be able to travel to Anchorage every three weeks for care. An assistant district attorney objected, saying defendants frequently use children for leniency in court and that it is inappropriate.

Judge Thomas Nave denied her request to leave the City and Borough of Juneau for now and ordered her remain in custody in lieu of $15,000 bail.

Court records show both Seal and Costello are Juneau residents.

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

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