Juneau police seized nearly 10K pills believed to contain fentanyl in a string of busts this week

A bag of blue pills labeled "migraine relief bottle"
Counterfeit pills suspected to contain fentanyl seized by Ketchikan police in March 2022. (Photo by Eric Stone/KRBD)

Juneau police and the regional drug task force Southeast Alaska Cities Against Drugs (SEACAD) have made three drug busts in the last five days.

“It’s not typical,” said Lieutenant Krag Campbell. “Especially to have, I mean, it’s a pretty large quantity amount for Juneau — and even Southeast Alaska. And then to have them pretty much back to back like that.”

On Saturday, police arrested a Washington woman at the airport with 4,100 pills believed to contain fentanyl and 55 grams of methamphetamine.

On Monday, police intercepted a Juneau man who received drugs by mail at Harris Harbor. The package contained about 2,640 pills believed to contain fentanyl, plus 134 grams of methamphetamine and 40 grams of heroin.

And on Tuesday afternoon, police arrested two Juneau men at the airport with more than 3,000 pills believed to contain fentanyl and nearly 70 grams of methamphetamine.

Campbell said he’s proud of the work the regional task force does, and he’s grateful for support from the state’s federally funded drug task force, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program. But he says the real drug crackdown will come from the courts.

“We can arrest 1,000 people, but if the people aren’t held accountable and they’re not given sentences to change behaviors then it’s not that impactful,” he said.

Fentanyl is behind a 71% increase in drug overdose deaths in Alaska from 2020 to 2021. More than 250 Alaskans died from a drug overdose last year. Alaska has the highest rising rate of overdose deaths in the nation.

Claire Stremple

Alaska News Reporter, KTOO

I believe every Alaskan has a right to timely information about their health and health systems, and their natural environment and its management. My goal is to report thoughtful stories that inform, inspire and quench the curiosity of listeners across the state.

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