Police Arrest Nine People in Wide Drug Sweep
Thursday, October 24 2013
Police performed a two-day sweep in Unalaska this week as part of an ongoing investigation into meth and heroin sales.
Public safety director Jamie Sunderland says the operation follows from an undercover drug sting conducted over the past few months. Officers used information from those cases -- and, once again, from a confidential informant.
"That has led to the arrest of nine additional people," Sunderland says.
Among them are Lua Aiava, 28, Allan Bautista, 44, Ioane Faasavalu, 25, Ernie Oxinio, 30, Brandon Rosa, 21, Stephen A. Rosa, 49, and Tofa Matautia, 28. They have all been charged with drug-related felonies.
Officers kicked off the first round of searches around 12:45 p.m. Wednesday and wrapped up around midnight. In that time span, they executed ten search warrants.
On Thursday, police still had more eight more warrants to work through. They were also processing meth, heroin, and bath salts seized as evidence.
"We have recovered alarming amounts of illegal drugs, plenty of guns, lots of cash," Sunderland says, adding that the department is planning to release more details on the quantities at a later date.
With assistance from a police dog and K-9 officer flown in from Sand Point, Unalaska police spent Wednesday searching the offices at Tradewinds Apartments and a private residence at Tradewinds. They also combed through a Radiant Heating Fuel Services truck and a tire shop, both owned by Dalibor Machalek.
Machalek says his property was searched because his employee is allegedly connected to drug sales.
Radiant Heating’s fuel truck driver, Stephen A. Rosa, is facing 13 felony charges for allegedly engaging in a criminal enterprise involving controlled substances, allegedly possessing meth and bath salts, and allegedly possessing firearms despite an earlier felony conviction, which would preclude gun ownership.
On Wednesday afternoon, Machalek says his brother called him to tell him that police officers were at his tire shop, just down the road from Radiant Heating’s office on Broadway.
"So I went over there and I was informed by police officer Jennifer Shockley that they have a suspicion to search the premises," Machalek says. "She informed me that they were going to have a warrant within a couple of hours or something. And when I arrived, police officers were already in the shop, searching."
Machalek says the officers let him turn off the fuel truck Rosa usually drives, which was left running outside, along with a welder machine inside the shop. The officers carried on with their search and Machalek left to return to work, he says. When he returned to the shop after business hours, Machalek says he found two search warrants laying on his desk.
Sundlerland says it’s not common practice to notify a property owner before performing a search with a warrant. But Sunderland says police have obtained and executed all their warrants by the book.
"We’re trying to be good citizens of the community, as well. We’re not into knocking out windows and kicking things down," Sunderland says. "We’re looking through things and then trying to get them back to their owners, if possible. If it’s evidence, we’re seizing it. If not, we’re going to be there -- maybe even a few hours -- but then we’re going to try to get out of there and get out of the way."
Sunderland says the defendants who were arrested on Wednesday were supposed to make their first appearances in court Thursday, but that was delayed.
Those hearings are now scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Friday.