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Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, February 03, 2006

Man sentenced for importing Oxycontin

JUNEAU - A 48-year-old Juneau man was sentenced Wednesday to the longest prison term ever imposed for importing illegal prescription pain relievers into Alaska, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Deborah Smith.

Kevin Burke, who pleaded guilty to importation of Oxycontin from Canada, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick to serve 612 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Burke also pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of firearms. He was ordered to forfeit 10 firearms and $7,700 in cash.

The indictment charged Burke with importing the drugs from Canada from August 2001 through July 2005. Sedwick found in sentencing him that he imported more than 8,000 Oxycontin pills from Canada. Burke was stopped by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police last July, while attempting to fill multiple prescriptions using false identification.

Investigators searching his Juneau home found rifles, shotguns and semiautomatic weapons, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. Along with the $7,700, investigators also found 67 books and periodicals on how to commit crimes including money laundering, drug trafficking and identity theft.

Avalanche danger near Juneau retreats

JUNEAU - The Southeast Alaska Avalanche Center said Thursday's mild weather has reduced the avalanche danger that had grown in Juneau's backcountry areas.

The center issued a local alert in some media outlets about high avalanche danger in Juneau's backcountry on Thursday morning.

Additional testing during the day showed that Juneau's snowpack had "relaxed quite a bit," said Bill Glude, the center's director.

The immediate avalanche danger has subsided at low and middle elevations, Glude said.

"Up high, I still wouldn't trust it. People should be cautious," Glude said.

Woman sentenced for three DUI arrests

FAIRBANKS - A woman arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol three times over nine days was allowed to plead no contest to three misdemeanor violations.

Marcia Uhler, 64, could have been charged with felony DUI for the second and third incidents last summer.

Uhler, who had a previous DUI conviction in May 2004, reached a plea deal with the state in September. She agreed to plead no contest to three misdemeanor DUI charges and one charge of violating conditions of release.

District Court Judge Raymond Funk sentenced Uhler on Wednesday to eight months in jail.

Funk said Marcia Uhler, owner of Caribou Loan Co., deserved little leniency.

"You are very lucky - as is the community - that someone wasn't killed," Funk told Uhler.

Uhler did not attend sentencing but listened in by phone from Olympia, Wash., where she is in alcohol rehabilitation.

Fairbanks airport to get $90 million facelift

FAIRBANKS - The Fairbanks International Airport is going to get a $90 million makeover.

The part of the terminal slated for demolition was built in 1952 and 1969. A two-year study says that part of the terminal is inefficiently designed, poorly insulated and dirty.

Most of the existing terminal is out of compliance with life and fire safety requirements of the International Building Code.

The airport will begin work on the terminal as early as March, airport manager Jesse VanderZanden said.



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