A sentencing hearing has been postponed for two men convicted in connection to the lucrative Sacramento-to-Juneau oxycontin ring that made millions of dollars from 2007 to 2011.
Richard Melvin Corum and Milan Thomas are now slated to be sentenced June 23 and 24, respectively, before U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess in Juneau, according to court dockets online.
Prosecutors said Thomas was the group’s ringleader and helped move more than 13,000 pills from Sacramento to Juneau during the five years the drug ring was in operation, according to charging documents. Thomas successfully avoided authorities until he was arrested in Minneapolis in February 2012. He pleaded guilty to four drug conspiracy and money laundering charges in Anchorage in May 2013.
Corum, of Sacramento and a reported gang member, stood trial in Juneau last summer and was convicted of a felony drug offense for being one of the drug ring’s main suppliers of oxycodone. He also was convicted of tampering with a witness for attacking Thomas while both were in custody at the Anchorage jail.
At trial, federal prosecutors relied on four of the drug ring conspirators — Thomas, Thomas’ half-brother Veil Barradois Thomas, Corum’s cousin Lorenzo Darnell Williams Jr. and one of Milan Thomas’ girlfriends, Hilary Herndon — to testify against Corum in exchange for leniency at sentencing. The conspirators all testified they bought the pills from Corum then smuggled them (or used drug couriers) to Juneau to distribute. At its peak, the operation was making $2 million a year.
Prosecutors say 30 to 40 people from both Alaska and California have been arrested in connection to the drug ring over the past several years. It’s unknown what percentage or amount of the oxycontin pills in Juneau the group was providing, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Schmidt previously said supply has “dropped off drastically” since the conspiracy ended in January 2011.
Corum could be facing up to 20 years for each of the two counts for which he was convicted. Likewise, Thomas could be facing up to 20 years for each of the four counts he admitted.
• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.