Raid leads to roundup of suspected illegal aliens

Posted: Thursday, September 25, 2003

A downtown drug bust Tuesday that turned up 20 grams of cocaine led federal authorities to 19 allegedly illegal aliens in the Juneau area.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Mike Milne told the Empire from his Seattle office Wednesday the bust also led agents to one Mexican citizen who appears to be in the country legally.

The legal alien was one of five arrested on state charges Tuesday, he said. Three face felony drug charges. Four face felony forgery charges.

The five were booked into the Lemon Creek Correctional Center after officers from the Southeast Alaska Narcotics Enforce- ment Team served search warrants on two apartments in a Franklin Street building, Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Tim Birt of SEANET said.

SEANET officers, assisted by Juneau Police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, seized the cocaine, a handgun, cash and forged identifications, according to Birt's report. SEANET is a multiagency drug-enforcement task force comprised of state troopers and local police from Juneau and other Southeast Alaska communities.

Birt said the $14,000 seized appeared to be drug-dealing proceeds because it was found near the cocaine.

He said cocaine is selling for $125 a gram on the streets of Juneau. That would mean the 20 grams - less than an ounce - could have been sold for $2,500.

There is nothing to indicate the people arrested Tuesday had any connection to other recent drug arrests, Birt said. About five weeks ago, SEANET was involved in a Juneau bust where 588 grams - about 1 pound 5 ounces - was seized from a car driven off the ferry from Bellingham, Wash.

Milne said the federal agents used information collected at Tuesday's bust to identify others in the country illegally. He did not have their countries of origin, he said.

One of the people already has been through deportation proceedings and was being held in federal custody, he said. Except for those who were arrested on state charges, the others were issued summons for due-process hearings concerning their immigration status, he said.

Milne said he could not name the people his agency identified as being in the country illegally.

SEANET identified those arrested at Tuesday's bust as Alfredo Jaimes, 37, Victor M. Guiterrez-Nunez, 31, Alberto Franco-Ramos, 25, J. Guadalupe Franco-Remos, 30, and Edwardo Garcia-Remos, 24.

Jaimes was charged with third-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance. Guiterrez-Nunez and Alberto Franco-Ramos were charged with fourth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance and forgery. J. Guadalupe Franco-Remos and Garcia-Remos were charged with forgery.

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