Five Arrested in Undercover Drug Sting

Wednesday, September 25 2013

A sample of the black tar heroin Unalaska police seized Tuesday. / Credit: Ben Matheson

Five people are facing felony drug charges after being arrested Tuesday.

Unalaska police say they’ve been conducting an undercover investigation for the past four months, which allegedly revealed sales of black tar heroin and crystal meth in town.

Beginning around noon Tuesday, police arrested Michael Hindman, 24, Jana Lekanoff, 25, Daylen Luff, 29, Eric Roach, 45, and Zane Zueger, 25. Roach was arrested for allegedly selling meth, and the others are accused of selling heroin, or possessing it with the intent to sell.

Additional charges are expected against the five. Police anticipate at least one more arrest.

When asked about the connection among the five people, public safety director Jamie Sunderland says he would not characterize it as a drug ring.

"I wouldn’t define it as that, I think they all knew each other they certainly were involved with this stuff. Was it a highly organized thing?  Undetermined is probably a better way to put it," said Sunderland.

Sunderland says a confidential informant helped bring the case together. The man worked undercover, buying heroin three times and meth twice. He frequently wore a recording device.

According to court documents, the alleged drug deals happened in grocery store parking lots, and in the bathroom of the Harbor View Bar.

Sunderland says officers spent the early part of the week conducting searches on 11 warrants. They gathered a staggering amount of evidence.

"There’s some distinctive clues left behind when these things happen. There was quite a bit of that, in many locations, in cars, houses, anywhere these folks went they left a trail of drug paraphernalia," said Sunderland.

Sunderland says police seized at least 10 very small baggies of heroin. They also seized cell phones and a computer, which may yield information about the original supplier of the drugs.

In the meantime, all five individuals are still being held in custody. They made their first court appearance Wednesday morning.

Jana Lekanoff’s mother, Linda, was allowed to speak about her daughter before the court. Linda Lekanoff described Jana as a high achiever, and said she’s beloved by her family.

Zane Zueger’s mother, Debbie, also spoke in defense of her child.  She said she hopes the situation will serve as a wake-up call to the people facing charges.

The magistrate has not yet set the financial terms of bail. Further hearings are set for next Wednesday to appoint defense attorneys. A pre-indictment hearing is scheduled for next Thursday, October 3rd at 10 a.m.

eliminatedrugs on Saturday, November 02 2013:

small and big shot drug dealers are alike they are killing people they only think for them selves they should all be sent to jail and serve their time. there will be no big shot dealers if there are no small time dealers big time dealers depend on small time dealers if we eliminate small time dealers then we can eliminate big shot dealers.

Stupid people? on Wednesday, October 30 2013:

Obviously you are from out of town if you just now getting the news. My pet dog knew before I did. Let me guess, Moved away right after high school, desperately looking for someone to take care I you. And you did, good for you. Glad you finally enrolled in college, stab in the dark here but is it online or community, just wondering. These 'kids' we're not drug dealers, they knew someone who knows someone that owes someone, that's how it works. Making money was not on their minds, just the next fix. Since the topic of your post was ego trippin, let me feed mine, I didn't go to college, local, made more money than you and your husband ever will in your lifetime( all tax deducted ) and years younger. Next time just put your name, we all know who you are. I'll keep you in my prayers.

clint eastwood on Tuesday, October 29 2013:

to bad the authorities didn't get the ones who fled the island like rats off a burning ship after the first bust. Maybe there is still hope for our community after all.

Stupid People on Monday, October 28 2013:

I think it's crazy that these kids I went to high school with are now drug dealers. Come on now, you really think selling drugs is the best way to make easy cash in Dutch? I'm sorry but you can make a crap load of money working at the coffee shop or something like that. Everyone thought I was going to be a screw up, but now I'm going to college, married, and have a well paying job. Didn't sell drugs to do that.

Check Your Facts on Thursday, October 24 2013:

"Blown Cover" Its Not like the last time when we had an undercover in town. This was a local drug user that was caught and ratted people out to cover his own. Not a lot went into this like the typical scandals our police department is part of.
Half of these people are out on 3rd party. Their charges are going to be dropped, and the only excuse we are going to get is that the Police department was after the bigger fish.
Honestly, this is all BS. Nobody is going to actually pay their dews in the end. Stupid.

Blown Cover on Thursday, October 03 2013:

Logic, you are missing the point. It's not that we should stop punishing petty criminals, it's that a 4 month long covert operation that can only be done once in a blue moon needs to have more value. A cop can sit in an alley and pull people over for speeding all day every day, but an undercover operation in a town of 4,000 people can only be done once in a blue moon. To eliminate drugs from this community, you need to cut off the supply. The supply will die down for a few weeks, and then come right back. And when the supply does come back these petty dealers will be on alert and find different dopers to do their dirty work.

Blown Cover on Wednesday, October 02 2013:

I agree with Jay Vedder. Undercover work to find a druggy and charge them with a class A felony for to drive a petty dealer to drop off a lil' baggy is a joke! Hey guess what? Now they've blown their cover and the actual supplier in Anchorage or Seattle is gonna lay low for a few months, and then find new pawns to take the place of the old ones. Its pretty obvious the police didn't move up the food chain very far. These drug addicts should get a class C felony, a couple months in jail, and some treatment. The guy actually making the money off this stuff and supplying it is probably counting his money in his nice house in the suburbs right now. That's the guy who needs to go to prison for 10 years, not these wannabe thugs

Logic on Tuesday, October 01 2013:

You're right "Jay Vedder" we shouldn't bother with the small time "dopers and wannabe dutch harbor thugs". ACTUALLY, we should take your logic to heart and shouldn't bother with any small time crime, because really, as you imply, why bother? We shouldn't bother giving traffic tickets either because there is bigger fish to fry. According to your logic, there will always be someone to take their place. Why bother?! Your complacency, apathy and lack of understanding of the point of the justice system is atrocious.

jay vedder on Tuesday, October 01 2013:

4 months of undercover work and all you got is a bunch of dopers and wannabe dutch harbor thugs......while the real criminals making all the money are sittin at home watching the breaking bad trying to figure out how to make thier meth turn blue.....I say thier whole undercover opperation is a failure. TRY AGAIN!!!! If they dont the game will continue with diffrent DOPERS to take thier place.......get Heisenburg and stop messing with the local kids who dont know any better!!!

UCHS Alum on Monday, September 30 2013:

Having moved here decades ago and graduating from UCHS, I've seen many friends and acquaintances fall into the vicious drug cycle. It’s disheartening and painful to see your loved ones changing before your very eyes but the sad truth is that it’s almost an inevitability in this community. Seemingly every family in the community has struggled with substance abuse in one form or another.

I agree with the point made about the dearth of recreational activities in the community. I think back to a decade ago and how many thriving adult leagues there were and look at the state of recreation now and am disappointed. I don’t bring this up to place blame on anyone in particular, but instead to shed light on the fact that the sense of community seems to be on a downward trend. My argument will have to be left as an incomplete thought because I have no immediate, practical solution but I do believe that the corporations need to work with the city to expand outdoor recreational opportunities.

In regards to community enlightenment, perhaps it's time for AKAOK or Teen Council to put together another presentation like the one they did in line with the "Meth: Not Even Once" campaign. Although it was an extremely influential production with guest speakers and an abundance of powerful information, it's been almost a decade since we've had anything to that scale (please correct me if I’m wrong about this).

Whatever the case may be, the fact that yet another drug bust involves long time “community kids” is a clear indicator that we need to take action. We can no longer sit around and try to pass the buck and figure out who’s to blame. As a community, it’s time to band together and take a stand.

Community Member on Sunday, September 29 2013:

First Bill, in one Unalaska graduating class with thirty or so graduates in the middle twenty-something age range, 9 out of 30 students in one class, as of now, has had serious drug or alcohol related charges. One is dead. At least three more have been through rehab. These numbers reflect only those of whom I have knowledge. This doesn't include the five plus additional local young adults who recently have been, are currently in, or are about to enter rehab. right now. I don't care about anyone elses demographics. This is not New York or L.A. When there are this many young people in trouble, we have a problem as a community.
Secondly where did the idea come from that these parents are defending their kids actions or want them to "get off"? Perhaps KUCB needs to be a bit more articulate in their reporting. A magistrate asks if anyone wants to speak on BEHALF of someone charged. Speaking on behalf of someone doesn't mean you are DEFENDING their actions or that you think they should "get off". It is simply an opportunity to give the magistrate additional information to make a fair decision. Some of those charged have no previous record, have ties to the community, etc., all of which play into the magistrate's decisions. This is all part of our legal process. The parents have a right to speak up just like anyone else. But of course if they do they are skewered and accused of enabling their kids and their parenting skills, or lack of them, are questioned. Of course these young adults need to be held responsible for their actions and I'm sure they will be. But the punishment needs to be appropriate. I also want to point out that even though the young adults charged are technically not "teenagers", they are quite young. The auto insurance industry recognizes that a male does not developmentally have the maturity to recognize and curb risky behavior until BEGINNING at age 25, and that is the reason a male's auto insurance rates do not even begin to drop until then. So even though they are technically adults, they are still young and dumb with plenty of time, and here I agree with you, Bill, to develop into hard working, upstanding citizens, but not if we just "put them away". I agree with "Fed Up Islander and "New in Town" in that we need to educate ourselves, especially parents, and our kids and community so we recognize the signs of drug and alcohol abuse sooner. We need to open up more outlets for recreation and other activities. We need to be able to get our kids help locally,earlier, so that they may receive education and treatment as soon as trouble is spotted. "Unalaskagrown" you point out a huge fear of mine that this town is reverting back to a working town instead of a community. When large companies come in here and buy up housing and retail space, only to raise rents so high that no one but other large companies can afford the rent or retail space, it further encourages the working town syndrome and makes it more difficult for families to live here. Instead of attacking one another or the families and parents of those charged now is a good time to band together and take a good look at our community.

Unalaskangrown on Saturday, September 28 2013:

Honestly, put them away. Local or not it doesn't give them any free card to get away this. Maybe this is the time to take a step back and realize that we need to do more with our community and reach out to the youth. This town has gone from a community to just a working town. The drug use has increased in the last 5 years alone. If we are such a "good town" then this is our fault. Its sad we couldn't do more to distract kids growing up, and provided them with a better pass time then drug use.

new in town on Friday, September 27 2013:

Combine addictive substance with a teenager’s natural tendency to experiment and take risks and you have a recipe for tragedy waiting to happen.
But wait, these kids are no teenagers anymore, are they? All are presumed to know the law, and traditional legal punishment is often the only way people learn.
Useful actions in this town include educating not only children but also parents and teachers. Make them understand that every time users buy their heroin fix, they also support violent crime, dirt poor farmers dependent on their corrupted local officials, drug smuggling which goes hand in hand with human trafficking for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labor or for the extraction of organs or tissues.
Is the high really worth it?

Bill on Friday, September 27 2013:

community member: "huge upswing" "huge increase" Where are your statistics? Demographics? Comparisons with any other similar population of youth? Adults claimed society would be ruined back in the sixties and seventies with Marijuana, LSD, speed, Mescaline, Rock and Roll, etc... and yet we are now the ones running things here in the USA...which has worked out pretty well for the over 50 crowd. As long as you didn't turn out to be a Congressman or Senator - you are likely a hard working member of society.

Wow "unalaska graduate" how did you pass your English and grammar classes? Fairly atrocious use of grammar in your paragraph there...likely text from a cell, guess old codgers like me need to chill and learn text non-etiquette

unalaska graduate on Friday, September 27 2013:

This is good its a step in the right direction i know 2 of those people were so messed up they didnt realize it and drungs are worse right now in our community and SCHOOL then they have ever been and i dont see anyone doing much about it this is probably good for these guys to sit in jail for a little bit lets get our school clean too thats our future

Bill on Friday, September 27 2013:

What a load of dung here - drugs are a victimless crime - we should go after the Buyers - users - not the entrepreneurs who are just supplying the drugs that the marketplace demands. Yet if we do that we could turn this town into a Ghost town. Years ago I would see crab fishermen right off the boat seeking out certain Taxi drivers because they wanted to party and celebrate after bringing in a big load of crab - so they got some cocaine and went to the bar to celebrate and buy 100's of dollars of drinks, alcohol - the legal drug which of course causes many many more problems than these small amounts of illegal drugs. Yet very good for business - Unisea sports bar has flourished because of the Fishermen in our community - and remember if it wasn't for these fishermen we would not have a community. Now things have changed a bit - Meth instead of Cocaine - but they still go to the bar and spend 100's of dollars willingly to the benefit of our community.

Innocent kids on Friday, September 27 2013:

Not all of the facts are out yet. But if these allegations are true, then these "community kids" will be lucky to have small town politics on their side to bail them out. Drugs can catch anyone off guard, but these are big boy crimes with big boy sentences. Anywhere else, and they'll get a free bed at the state penitentiary. I'm sure family court will come up with a good resolution.

Thankful parent on Thursday, September 26 2013:

Thank you UPD for your hard effort on this case. It is tough to bring the heat in such a small town, but we need a diligent effort to keep our community safe. We need to also help and support the families effected. Drugs hurt everyone.

Fed up islander on Thursday, September 26 2013:

For many newcomer's and long term residents, this small remote island can be very depressing and boring. So many turn to drugs for recreation to cope. If the city and O.C didn't have us so heavily restricted on land use the community could better itself by offering more healthy activities such as on road and off road use of atv's, motorcycles, and snow machines. Not the cure all answer to the problem but a definite step in the right direction for a better tomorrow.

Unalaska High School Graduate on Thursday, September 26 2013:

It's sad that drugs have such deep roots in Unalaska. I have personally seen good people get wrapped up in drugs, and although they are doing okay now, I can see them getting into this kind of trouble in the future. I'm not gonna lie. Kids party and drink, but many of us know the limits. We know that it shouldn't consume our lives. But there are some of us that do get wrapped up in drugs and it's sad. I hope that Unalaska gets rid of all the drugs. I can't believe it's taken so long.

justice on Thursday, September 26 2013:

offenses like these are much to common, maybe its because there is no real punishment? its pathetic that the parents of these 20 somethings are defending this garbage, maybe there in lies the problem. GOOD KIDS DON'T SELL HEROINE AND METH!

community member on Thursday, September 26 2013:

Our community is under attack. These are our friends and neighbors and their children. These drugs are horrible, powerfully addictive substances that drive good young people from good families to do terrible things. There is a huge upswing in the number of young people from this community who have chemical dependency issues. There is a huge increase in the number of young people in this community who have attended some type of drug rehabilitation. They are the lucky ones. We need to open our eyes as a community and find solutions to the underlying problem not just deal with the after effects. Some of these young people have no or minimal criminal records. I pray that the consequences for these acts are just and include rehabilitation. I pray we come together as a community to discuss this issue and to provide more education and more local treatment choices. We should all be very afraid because if this can happen to these families it can happen to yours.

Alysha Callaham on Wednesday, September 25 2013:

News that is productive yet sad at the same time and it hits very close to home. Let us help these people as community members, friends, family members, etc. I hope that each person gets treatment as an option in their sentencing. There is so much hope and room for positive possibilities amongst the tragedy. I hope each of them will feel supported and loved through their struggle back to wellness. I sincerely hope that the system does not do them the extreme disservice of perpetuating a criminal lifestyle through lengthy jail time and ostracism by their community. It's time to find solutions! You are all in my thoughts.

Lovinglife907 on Wednesday, September 25 2013:

I hope they find the drug lords! It's still out there! Sad to see and hear kids who grew up and graduated in Unalaska waste their life on drugs. Someone do something!

Lovinglife907 on Wednesday, September 25 2013:

I hope they find the drug lords! It's still out there! Sad to see and hear kids who grew up and graduated in Unalaska waste their life on drugs. Someone do something!

Happy citizen and graduate of Unalaska! on Wednesday, September 25 2013:

It's a step in the right direction of making our community bond together like Sand Point and show that we will no longer deal with these acts that affect our youth and families! We can bind together to help those who have been involved and still keep our community a safe place for future generations and leaders!

Local... on Wednesday, September 25 2013:

Ben M., next time please proof read and see how your articles look. This "confidential" informant is not so confidential with all of the information you put out about him or her. I'm surprised this made it past editorial staff...

Local on Wednesday, September 25 2013:

One of the saddest things is three of the five graduated from Unalaska school. What are we as a community doing to recognize this kind of activity. Let's take a lesson from Sand Point.

Happy citizen on Wednesday, September 25 2013:

Thank you for taking the time to try and make our island a better place by taking some drug dealers off our streets! Less losers and drugs we will have to worry about!

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