Juneau police make major drug arrest

Juneau District Court on Friday set bail at $10,000 cash for 23-year-old Juneau resident Hans William Elliot Petaja, arrested Thursday for bringing illegal drugs into the capital city.

Petaja is charged with second degree Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance, a Class A felony.  A conviction could result in up to 20 years in prison and a 250-thousand dollar fine.

Assistant District Attorney Amy Williams says the investigation leading to his arrest was based on anonymous tips about Petaja’s alleged dealing of heroin in Juneau. The tips date back to January. Investigators also had the help of a confidential informant.

Juneau Police Lt. Kris Sell says a controlled and supervised delivery of 8 ounces of heroin was made immediately prior to the arrest.

“We use mostly sham drugs when we deliver a package because we always have to be concerned that it’ll be either destroyed or be lost as part of the investigation,” Sell says. “We’re tracking the package and trying to stay as close to it as we can, but of course we always have concerns about making sure that a large amount of real drugs don’t get loose from an investigation and into the community.”

Lt. Sell says the case is part of an upsweep of heroin into Juneau over the past year and a half.

“We are really in a battle with heroin right now. As oxy (oxycodone) is going harder to get, we saw heroin really replacing oxys and now there’s a great deal of it that’s being moved into Juneau,” she says.

A search of Petaja’s residence on Threadneedle Street revealed three scales, marijuana, baggies, pipes, aluminum foil, a note listing who apparently owed him money, and a loaded 22-caliber pistol. Petaja also allegedly stole $2,000 following a transaction.

Petaja says he recently started working for a charter fishing operation and formerly worked at the hatchery.

He’s being held at Lemon Creek Correctional Center. A public defender was assigned to his case with the next court hearing June 17th.

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