ANCHORAGE — The 20-year-old son of an Alaska legislator who prosecutors say distributed synthetic drugs to a man who died of an overdose was sentenced Thursday to 16 years in federal prison.
Robin Michael Gattis, of Wasilla, was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage after emotional statements from his parents and the parents of the man who died. Gattis, the son of state Rep. Lynn Gattis of Wasilla, pleaded guilty in August to a conspiracy count.
Prosecutors said Robin Gattis was the leader of the conspiracy. U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline also sentenced him to five years of supervised release after his prison term.
Authorities said Matt Scott, a young man who took methylone delivered by Gattis, died in April 2012. At his sentencing, Gattis called Scott his best friend and said he stopped selling the drugs after the death.
“I’ll never forget what happened to Matt,” he said. He denied leaving his friend to die.
Prosecutors said, however, that Gattis admitted he imported about 3 kilograms of methylone between October 2011 and July 2012.
Gattis was among seven indicted last year on charges of conspiring to import a synthetic drug from China to Alaska. The other co-defendants have pleaded guilty to charges ranging from international money laundering to possession of Methylone, which is similar to ecstasy.
Scott’s mother, Debbi Hurd, gave a tearful statement before the sentence was imposed. She carried a large framed photograph of her son and a small wooden box of his ashes.
“My son was a beautiful child,” she said. “Now he’s in a box.”
Lynn Gattis also spoke, telling Scott’s mother they both have lost so much as mothers.
The Republican lawmaker said her son has much to offer, given proper treatment. In issuing the sentence, Beistline said he was recommending a treatment program in prison.
Leaving the courtroom later, Lynn Gattis declined to comment.
“Not at this time,” she said. “I don’t even know what to say.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Bradley was seeking a sentence of at least 20 years, while defense attorney Scott Dattan said 10 years would be enough.
Beistline went with somewhere in between, telling Robin Gattis that the term in prison should be “sufficient time to deal with your demons.”