Suspected meth trafficker pleads guilty

Man charged with bringing more than 200 grams into Juneau on plane from Seattle

A man accused of bringing methamphetamine on a commercial flight to sell in Juneau has pleaded to second-degree misconduct involving controlled substances, a class B felony.

 

Brian O’Neil Yambao Arce, 38, pleaded guilty as charged Monday in Juneau Superior Court. Assistant Public Defender, Grace Lee, noted there was no agreement made with the District Attorney’s office and no plea deal is in place.


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Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg said that the potential maximum sentence was 10 years. He told Arce that if he does not have a prior felony conviction, the presumptive sentencing range is zero to two years, increasing to two to five years if he does have a prior felony.

According to Pallenberg, Arce has a prior federal conviction for gambling, but it was not clear if that was a felony or misdemeanor; that is a sentencing issue that will be need to be resolved.

Arce also is facing several “aggravators” that could increase his sentence. Assistant District Attorney Amy Paige has filed a request to consider the importation of controlled substances into Alaska, and the large quantity of meth found, as aggravating factors.

Paige requested a jury trial on those two issues.

Pallenberg, however, said that while the amount of meth seized was not a small quantity, he wanted to check federal guidelines as to what amount qualifies as “large” for the purpose of increasing a sentence. He set a status conference for June 22 to determine of a jury trial would be necessary.

Pallenberg ordered a pre-sentence report and scheduled Arce’s sentencing for July 20.

Arce was stopped at the Juneau International Airport coming off a flight from Seattle on April 14, according to the criminal complaint. Juneau Police Department Detective Carl Lundquist wrote in the complaint that JPD’s K-9 Buddy alerted on Arce’s bag and a subsequent search revealed 216 grams of a white crystalline substance that field-tested positive for meth.

Lundquist wrote that 216 grams of meth is far beyond a personal-use quantity. Because Arce reportedly said he does not live in Juneau and was visiting friends, the detective believed he was here to deliver and/or distribute drugs.

Stabbing suspect arraigned, trial date set

The suspect in a stabbing that seriously injured a person April 22 has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault and one count of third-degree assault.

Joshua Levi Brown was arraigned in Juneau Superior Court Monday morning. He has been appointed a public defender and his bail has been set at $50,000.

Brown, 37, is set come back to court for a status hearing on June 6, with a trial call scheduled for July 31. His trial, which was estimated to last at least five day, was set for Aug. 7.

Brown reportedly been in an altercation with the victim, Monte Nix, at a bonfire out Thane Road. The Juneau Police Department had received a 911 call at about 11:15 p.m. April 22 reporting the stabbing, which happened near parked vehicles and the roadway, in an area above the beach where the party-goers had a bonfire.

Brown allegedly fled the scene in a car; Nix was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital and then flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where surgeons removed part of his pancreas and his spleen.

In the initial complaint, Assistant District Attorney Angie Kemp wrote that Brown had a parole warrant for his arrest from Oregon for an original charge of third-degree robbery, and also had a warrant from Washington for smuggling marijuana; he also had multiple convictions in Oregon and California that included robbery, assault and exhibiting a firearm.

JPD had issued an arrest warrant for Brown and he subsequently was arrested on May 4.

 


 

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 523-2246 or liz.kellar@juneauempire.com.

 


 

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