Former ‘Deadliest Catch’ captain admits to dealing heroin, court documents say

A fishing boat, the Saga, moored alongside others in Dutch Harbor
Elliott Neese appeared in five seasons of “Deadliest Catch” as captain of the F/V Ramblin’ Rose and F/V Saga, which he was listed as owning at the time. Neese left the show during shooting for Season 11 in 2014 and later said he had gone to a rehab clinic. (Maggie Nelson/KUCB)

An Alaska crab boat captain formerly on the reality TV show “Deadliest Catch” has admitted to dealing heroin on the Kenai Peninsula.

Elliott Neese, 39, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. That’s according to a plea agreement Neese signed and filed in federal court Monday, shortly after prosecutors charged him.

And while the case just came to light this week, the charges stem from federal and state investigators searching Neese’s home in December of 2019. The plea agreement doesn’t say where Neese lived.

According to the plea agreement, investigators found Neese in possession of a little less than six ounces of heroin, a small amount of methamphetamine, digital scales, a money-counting machine and more than $80,000 cash.

“After the search, Neese admitted to investigators in an interview that he is engaged in a large narcotics trafficking operation on the Kenai Peninsula and that he distributes primarily heroin throughout the area,” the plea agreement says.

Some details of Neese’s agreement with prosecutors remain under seal. At his sentencing, which is currently not scheduled, Neese faces between five and 40 years in prison.

Neese appeared in five seasons of “Deadliest Catch” as captain of the F/V Ramblin’ Rose and F/V Saga, which he was listed as owning at the time. Neese left the show during shooting for Season 11 in 2014 and later said he had gone to a rehab clinic. State records show that was the last year he held a crab-fishing permit.

Neese’s attorney declined to comment on the case, as did federal prosecutors.

Alaska Public Media

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