Alaska State Troopers reported Tuesday that authorities had seized a half pound of heroin and more than 200 pills during a Friday bust at Ketchikan International Airport.
Authorities arrested a 27-year-old woman from Prince of Wales Island who allegedly brought the drugs in on an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle.
In a sworn statement filed in court, State Trooper Larry Duran said officers were waiting for Annette Arlene Dilts of Hydaburg and served a search warrant. She reportedly had concealed 250 grams of black tar heroin and more than 200 pills.
The pills were marked as oxycodone, but police suspect they are fentanyl. Fentanyl is a much more powerful and cheaply produced opiate drug. The pills have been sent to the Alaska state crime lab to be identified.
A spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Public Safety says the investigation is ongoing. He says authorities are investigating whether Dilts had accomplices.
The investigation was supported by a broader multi-agency task force known as Southeast Alaska Cities Against Drugs.
Juneau Police Lt. Krag Campbell is a member of the task force. He says law enforcement typically tries to flip lower-level drug traffickers to reveal larger organizations.
“And you can use the, you know, fear of going to jail for criminal charges, to turn people to provide you information. So when people provide information, then you can learn like, hey, who’s next up on this chain? How does the organization work? That’s where really where a lot of your information comes from,” Campbell said in a phone interview Wednesday.
He wasn’t involved with the Ketchikan airport bust. But he says that in the last few years, police are seeing fewer prescription opioids as doctors prescribe less of them.
“So you had kind of all those people that were on those prescription medications abusing them, then they just switched to heroin, and that’s why we’ve seen this huge spike of heroin use. And fentanyl — fentanyl is fairly new. It’s a very potent and very dangerous drug even in small doses. But we see it often used to imitate medications,” Campbell said.
Dilts faces two felony drug charges. Ketchikan’s public defender agency declined to comment on Dilts’ case. She’s in custody in Ketchikan as of Tuesday afternoon on $60,000 bail.