Alaska Digest

Posted: Friday, November 19, 2004

Cocaine, $13,000 seized downtown

JUNEAU - As part of a continuing investigation into the importation of cocaine from California to Juneau, SEANET officers served warrants Wednesday at apartments on Gastineau Avenue and Franklin Street downtown, the Alaska State Troopers reported.

At the Gastineau apartments officers from the Southeast Alaska Narcotics Enforcement Team seized about six grams of cocaine, less than a quarter of an ounce. They also seized a handgun, $13,000 in suspected drug proceeds, and evidence of cocaine distribution, they said.

Officers arrested four people on immigration violations. The only one whose name was released, Emeterio Rios-Aguilar, 19, also was charged with drug crimes - third- and fourth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance.

Troopers reported no arrests at the Franklin Street apartment, but said evidence of cocaine distribution was seized.

SEANET is cooperative effort of troopers and police officers from Southeast.

Body inside burning van is identified

KETCHIKAN - A body found inside a burning van near a logging road on Prince of Wales Island has been identified.

The body is that of Lauri Waterman, 48, of Craig, last seen Saturday night volunteering at the Chamber of Commerce annual banquet.

Alaska State Trooper Lt. Rodney Dial said the medical examiner's office in Anchorage conducted an autopsy Wednesday and was still trying to establish the cause of death.

Troopers are investigating the case as a possible homicide. Dial said troopers have interviewed dozens of people but have not arrested anyone.

A hunter reported seeing a burning vehicle with a body inside alongside the logging road in a remote area about 15 miles from Thorne Bay. The report was received at about 12:45 p.m. Sunday, said Alaska State Trooper Capt. Kurt Ludwig.

The 1998 Plymouth van, later identified as belonging to Waterman, was near a dead end and was some distance off the road, Ludwig said.

Waterman's husband, Carl "Doc" Waterman, said Wednesday that he had been in Juneau for a meeting during the weekend. He called home from Juneau at about 10 a.m. Sunday but there was no answer, he said.

The couple's teenage daughter, Rachelle, was at a volleyball tournament in Anchorage. Both returned to Craig on Sunday, he said.

Carl Waterman said he could tell that his wife had returned home after the chamber banquet but did not know when she left again. He reported her missing Sunday evening after he arrived home.

Judge: Boehm can stand trial in sex case

ANCHORAGE - A federal judge has ruled that Anchorage businessman Josef Boehm can stand trial on child sex trafficking charges.

U.S. District Judge Sedwick determined Boehm was mentally competent after a closed hearing Wednesday on whether Boehm understood the charges against him and could assist the lawyers defending him.

A doctor who performed a psychiatric evaluation already had concluded that Boehm was competent, the judge said.

Jury selection in Boehm's trial is scheduled for Monday.

Prosecutors said they agreed with the judge's decision. Boehm's lawyer, Phillip Weidner, said he had no comment.

Boehm, the longtime president of Alaska Industrial Hardware, is accused of giving drugs to eight girls to induce them to have sex with him, including giving crack cocaine to a pregnant girl. The indictment also charges him with giving drugs and money to anyone who would bring girls to his home or local hotels to have sex and use cocaine.

The indictment accuses him of trying to obstruct justice by trying to coerce people into giving false testimony, trying to get rid of evidence and trying to prevent testimony by some witnesses, according to court documents.

Boehm was first arrested in December on a state felony drug possession charge. A federal drug and weapons charges followed in January. The child sex trafficking charges were filed in March, with an additional charge coming in June that he gave crack to a pregnant girl.

North Slope cabbie found dead in car

ANCHORAGE - North Slope Borough police are investigating the death of a Barrow taxi driver.

The 33-year-old man, whose name was not released, was found slumped outside his car Wednesday evening near an apartment building, said Lt. Kelly Alzaharna. A caller reporting the incident told authorities the man had been shot, but police have not been able to confirm that, Alzaharna said.

Police have found no witnesses to any shooting and paramedics rushed the man to the local hospital before arriving officers could see the extent of his injuries. The man was later medevaced to Anchorage, where he died at Providence Alaska Medical Center, Alzaharna said.

Medics in Barrow did not immediately share information with police about the nature of the man's injuries, Alzaharna said.

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