Courts Roundup: Indictments, theft, heroin, fraud

2 indictments issued Friday


A Juneau grand jury indicted two people on Friday.

Benjamin D. Reierson, 27, was indicted for second- and third-degree drug misconduct for possessing heroin and methamphetamine with intent to deliver. Those are class ‘A’ and ‘B’ felonies that can fetch up to 20 and 10 years in prison, respectively.

Reierson was arrested on Feb. 27 after police intercepted a suspicious package in the mail headed to a residence in the 8400 block of Thunder Mountain Road, according to the Juneau Police Department. Police said the package contained approximately eight ounces of heroin and eight ounces of meth, for a combined street value of approximately $290,000.

Court records online do not indicate when Reierson will be arraigned in Juneau Superior Court. He was arraigned previously in Juneau District Court before the indictment was issued and was appointed an attorney with the Alaska Public Defender Agency.

Coy A. Taylor, 53, was indicted for third-degree assault and criminal mischief for recklessly placing another person in fear of physical injury with a bat and for damaging property in an amount of $500 or more. The charges stem from an incident that took place in Haines on Feb. 19. More information about the case was not immediately available. Taylor is scheduled be arraigned at the Haines courthouse on Wednesday.

Third-degree assault and criminal mischief are class ‘C’ felonies that can carry up to five years in prison each.

Indictments are formal accusations of illegal activity, and they are not evidence of guilt. The District Attorney’s office in Juneau presents cases to the grand jury each Friday.


Court hearing for Loescher pushed ‘til May

Another preliminary hearing has been postponed for the former director of two Alaska Native-run nonprofits accused of theft.

Robert W. Loescher was originally slated to have the hearing in January, and it was postponed until March 7 to allow time for the attorneys to discuss the case before it was presented to a grand jury. On Friday, the hearing was postponed again, this time until May 5.

Prosecutors say Loescher, a 66-year-old former Sealaska Corp. president and chief executive officer, stole $21,500 from the bank accounts of a legal defense fund that protects subsistence rights (the Alaska Subsistence Defense Fund) and another entity that addresses security of traditional food resources (the Alaska Traditional Foods Security Council). He was the director of those programs at the time for the Alaska Native Brotherhood Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp, which created them back in December 2009.

Loescher is facing one felony charge of second-degree theft. He pleaded not guilty during his arraignment in early December.


Woman sentenced for transporting heroin into Juneau

A convicted drug courier has been sentenced to five years in prison with three years suspended for transporting heroin and other drugs into the capital city.

Katrina M. Costello, a 23-year-old Juneau resident, was sentenced Wednesday by Superior Court Judge David George. George also imposed two years probation.

Police arrested Costello at the Juneau airport in April. A search revealed she was carrying heroin, hashish, oxycodone pills and a narcotic medication called Suboxone on a return flight from Seattle. Costello pleaded guilty in December.

Prosecutors said Costello was importing the drugs for Orion Seal, also from Juneau. Seal pleaded guilty in November and is awaiting sentencing.


Juneau woman admits PFD fraud

A 53-year-old Juneau resident has pleaded guilty to theft in connection to a Permanent Fund Dividend fraud case.

Donna J. Baldwin changed her plea in Juneau Superior Court on Feb. 26 and is scheduled to be sentenced in May.

Prosecutors accused Baldwin of moving out of state but still applying and receiving a PFD check for herself and her two children in 2008 and 2010. Prosecutors said she did not disclose any absences on her applications.

A plea deal proposes a three-year suspended imposition of sentence, 30 days shock incarceration, restitution of about $9,800 for the 2008 PFDs and 50 hours of community work service. She would also be ineligible to apply for PFDs in the future.

Judge Louis Menendez will decide whether the accept the proposed deal at sentencing.

Baldwin noted that she has cancer, and the judge advised her that she could make more comments about that at the sentencing hearing.


  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback






Tue, 04/24/2018 - 07:15

New internship program designed to make students job-ready

Bartlett Regional Hospital holding open house on high school transition program today.

Read more
Mon, 04/23/2018 - 14:40

Murder trial pushed back