Alaska Digest

Posted: Sunday, November 02, 2003

Seven people arrested in Mat-Su drug probe

WASILLA - Seven people have been arrested and more than a pound of cocaine, along with weapons, cash and cars, were seized in a drug-trafficking investigation by the Alaska Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Enforcement, Alaska State Troopers said Friday.

The six-month investigation involved sales and purchases of cocaine in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and Anchorage, troopers said.

Investigators confiscated 114 pounds of cocaine, five vehicles, about $10,000 in cash and about 40 weapons, including several that were determined to be stolen, troopers said.

Arrested were: Ernesto A. Mendes, 33, on 21 counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance and one count of theft; Lorenzo Deleon Jr., 31, on three counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance; Betty Jean Redd-Mendez, 30, on eight counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance; Brian Leroy Madsen, 39, one count of misconduct involving a controlled substance; Mike O.J. Frizzelle, 41, on one count of misconduct involving a controlled substance; Karen R. Willard, 46, on four counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance; Frank Anthony Ross, 56, on two counts of misconducting involving a controlled substance.

Rampart man charged in girlfriend's death

ANCHORAGE - A Rampart man has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of his girlfriend, Alaska State Troopers said.

Randolph Joseph, 45, who already was in custody for assault charges filed earlier, was charged with the murder of Doris Folger, 40. She was shot once in the chest Monday.

Joseph was arraigned Thursday afternoon and cash bail was set at $200,000.

Troopers said Rampart called authorities early Monday morning to say he found his girlfriend dead. He was arrested when he became physically and verbally abusive to officers, troopers said.

Faltering furnace fetches firefighters

JUNEAU - Capital City Fire and Rescue crews responded to a malfunctioning furnace at about 10 a.m. Friday at South Franklin Street.

Smoke was coming from the stack at the top of the building and sprinklers had been activated in the boiler room, the department said.

Firefighters determined that the boiler had malfunctioned, triggering the sprinklers. They reported the damage of about $15,000 was limited to water damage from the sprinklers.

About 15 firefighters responded to the call.

Court corrects charge for sex offender

JUNEAU - A 21-year old man will have to register as a sex offender for the next 15 years for an attempted sex crime involving an underage girl, according to a corrected order distributed by Juneau courts Friday.

Evan A. Whitman was sentenced last week to 490 days in jail after agreeing to plead guilty to a reduced charge for a case in which he had been indicted on a count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor younger than 16.

The corrected order, signed by Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks, found Whitman guilty of attempted third-degree sexual abuse of a minor 16 years or older.

As originally distributed, and quoted in Friday morning's Juneau Empire, Weeks' order omitted the word attempted.

Report states Kenai economy steady

KENAI - A report says the Kenai Peninsula Borough economy did not expand substantially in 2002, but didn't shrink much either.

The annual report produced by the borough's Community and Economic Development Division analyzes a variety of statistics from the borough, state and industry.

The report says taxable sales in 2002 surpassed those of 2001, though total gross sale numbers were slightly behind those of the previous year.

It found that the assessed value of new construction permits issued last year was second only to 1995, when the $35 million Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward was permitted.

And it found that construction activity was up in borough cities where building permits are required. The value of all permits in 2002 reached nearly $46 million, a jump of 1.9 percent over 2001. Last year saw a 23.3 percent increase in the number of permits over 2001.

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