ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Seven Anchorage-area residents were indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury for operating a methylone production and distribution ring, which ended in the drug related death of a co-conspirator.
The case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Anchorage Police Department, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley Narcotics Enforcement Team.
The 22-count indictment announced Monday alleges that Robin Michael Gattis, 19, of Wasilla; Chad Cameron, 18, of Palmer; Stephen Kimbrell, 20, of Soldotna; Kevin Rupp, 21, of Anchorage; Shane O'Hare, 23, of Wasilla; Bren Marx, 20, of Palmer; and Haylee Hays, 19, of Anchorage, conspired to import methylone powder from China to Alaska and distributed it between September 2011 and July. Methylone, more commonly known as "M1," is a stimulant chemically similar to MDNA or Ecstasy.
Gattis is charged with distributing methylone, resulting in the April death of a co-conspirator identified in the indictment only as "M.G.S." Gattis is also charged with four counts of unlawfully importing methylone. Gattis, O'Hare and Rupp are charged with possession of methylone with intent to distribute, and Gattis, Rupp, Marx, Kimbrell and Cameron are charged with attempted possession of methylone with intent to distribute. Gattis, Cameron, Hays and Kimbrell are all charged with international money laundering, based on allegations that they wired money to China via Western Union to pay for methylone shipments. The indictment also alleges that Gattis used minors to wire money to China to buy methylone and asked friends and associates to allow him to use their addresses to receive shipments.
According to the indictment, following the death of M.G.S., Gattis emailed his Chinese supplier advising of the death and asking for a refund. However, less than a month later, Gattis resumed his orders from the same supplier.
Gattis faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if convicted on the charge of distribution resulting in death, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years. Each of the other 21 remaining charges in the indictment carries a maximum sentence of 20 years of imprisonment. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Alaska.