Juneau police confiscate six pounds of pot during arrests

17-plant marijuana growing operation was also shut down

Posted: Friday, December 14, 2007

Several people waiting for packages to arrive through the U.S Postal Service recently got more than they ordered after Juneau police arrested three people, charged a minor and seized more than six pounds of marijuana along with smaller amounts of heroin, psilocybin mushrooms and $10,500 in cash during two separate incidents.

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It's a respectable drug bust from a law enforcement standpoint, Juneau Police Sgt. Dave Campbell said.

On Wednesday a package containing three pounds of marijuana from California arrived at Autumn Court. Police then arrested 23-year-old Linda Layne and 23-year-old Paul Defalco on felony drug charges stemming from a joint investigation with U.S. Postal Inspectors from Anchorage.

The day before, police charged a 17-year-old boy after a package containing 3.4 grams of heroin, 117 grams of mushrooms and 174 grams of marijuana arrived at his Sasha Avenue mailbox. Police withheld the teenager's name, but said he was charged with three felonies as a result of the joint investigation. He was released to his parents, Campbell said.

According to police, the juvenile's intercepted heroin equals about 34 average doses and the marijuana equals about 200 joints. The average dose of mushrooms is hard to quantify, Campbell said.

The two search warrants, served on consecutive days, were unrelated, police said.

Police confiscated a 17-plant marijuana growing operation while searching Layne's residence. The operation equaled three pounds of marijuana, Campbell said.

"Pounds are hard to argue for personal use," Campbell said.

At the Autumn Court crime scene, police arrested 26-year-old Kevin Belcourt on a $10,000 felony warrant that was related to two previous drug arrests.

Both arrest scenarios came fast after postal inspectors discovered the packages contained drugs, Campbell said. In general, when suspect packages are intercepted by postal inspectors, the drugs are classified and weighed and then the packages are delivered to the person or the location, Campbell said.

This fall, postal inspectors have stopped at least four drug shipments bound for Juneau homes after they found something suspicious about the packages in route. Campbell described the container used to ship three pounds of marijuana as two cubic feet.

Police see a consistent amount of narcotics traffic through the mail. It's not just Juneau, drugs are a regional problem, Campbell said.

Layne, Defalco and Belcourt were taken to the Lemon Creek Correctional Center after their arrests.

Both Layne and Defalco face maximum penalties of 15 years in prison and $150,000 in fines if found guilty of the charges against them, Campbell said.

The charges against the juvenile draw a maximum of 40 years in prison and $550,000 in fines if he's convicted, Campbell said.

• Contact Greg Skinner at 523-2258 or greg.skinner@juneauempire.com

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