Officials hope drug bust leads to Juneau dealers

Posted: Friday, February 14, 2003

More arrests are expected after a law enforcement task force seized nearly a pound of cocaine in Juneau and took two men into custody this month.

The men are thought to be couriers for local drug dealers, officials with the Southeast Alaska Narcotics Enforcement Team said today. SEANET is made up of Alaska State Troopers and police officials from seven Southeast communities.

Juneau residents Douglas Harris, 34, and Kyle Nalan, 23, were charged with third-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance, a felony, according to a trooper press release issued today. They were arrested separately earlier this month.

"It's always our hope that with any arrest like this that it will lead us to the dealers," said trooper Sgt. Timothy Birt, a member of the SEANET team. "It just depends on the suspects. Sometimes they talk and sometimes they don't. ... This is still a very active investigation and we'll just have to see what happens."

Harris was arrested Tuesday at the Juneau Airport. He had flown in from Seattle, where officials believe most of the illegal drugs in Juneau come from.

The enforcement team was tipped off that the cocaine was coming into Juneau with Harris, Birt said. The team arrested Harris, strip-searched him and allegedly found 8 ounces of cocaine in his underwear.

One ounce of cocaine is roughly the size of a pingpong ball, Birt said.

Harris was lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center and later released on bail, said prison booking officers. They didn't know when he was released.

Nalan was arrested Feb. 2 at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal, where he arrived from Bellingham, Wash., on the state ferry Matanuska. Crew members heard he was allegedly carrying drugs and notified Juneau police.

SEANET members waited for Nalan at the terminal and, after a search, allegedly found 5 ounces of cocaine on him, Birt said. Nalan was lodged at the state prison and later released on bail. He was indicted by a Juneau grand jury Feb. 7.

A search of Nalan's home allegedly produced trace amounts of cocaine, Birt said. Officials did not find anything in Harris' home, Birt said.

But Birt said that on Thursday the drug-enforcement team seized about 40 tablets of the opiate hydrocodone, a strong painkiller, in the home of another suspect connected to the Harris case.

Birt said the men most likely aren't dealers, but couriers, who carry drugs from one place to another. It's not clear whether Nalan and Harris' alleged drug activities are linked, Birt said.

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