Alcohol and Me video series
Posted on November 29, 2013
-- Police eyeball incoming cargo to look for suspicious packages, when carriers will allow it.
-- Banjo, a German Shephard, is trained to sniff out alcohol hidden in luggage and packages.
Det. Sgt. Sundai says intercepting booze before it gets to Barrow and surrounding villages means less crime for police to react to -- fewer DUIs, assaults and sexual assaults. But the demand is great and profits are large, he says.
“For the most part, one of the highest profit-margin items you can bring in…would be hard alcohol, i.e. Rich and Rare Canadian Whiskey. A lot of that comes in here. Monarch Vodka. Usually in plastic bottles that you can burp. We’ve seen it where they take apple juice container and empty those out and pour the R&R in there. So, in Barrow, an alcohol bottle will go for about a hundred bucks. If you shipped through cargo, you might incur some kind of shipping, so that kind of takes away from your profit. But at $100 a bottle and you bought the bottle at nine to ten bucks or whatever. So there’s your profit margin, usually about $75 or so.”
Posted on November 29, 2013
At about age 14, Thomas Ahtuangaruak, Jr., was confused when someone in Wainwright offered to pay $100 to a family member for juice. “No, not that kind of juice,” the family member explained. T.A., as he is known, walked away with $50 for handing off a bottle of liquor. “That got me started, right there,” he said. T.A says bootlegging was soon big business for him in Barrow, part of a lifestyle that included burglaries, vehicle thefts, fights and drug use. “I was the worst person in Barrow,” he says. “I did practically all my '90s in jail.” Now, T.A. is likely to be found in the Traditional Room of the Inupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, carving whale bone and walrus ivory. He says he looks back on his bootlegging years with regret. “ Today, I think about my past and it hurts me inside. Because, seeing what it did to the families. I’ve seen kids, wearing the same clothes, going over to their grandpas, their aunts, uncles, going over to their relatives to go eat, due to their parents’ alcohol drinking. And
Posted on November 27, 2013
Born and raised in Hoonah, Kyle Wark remembers sitting in the family car as his mother drove him home, drunk and swerving. When they arrived at the house she passed out on the steering wheel, horn blaring, he said. Wark was 29 when she died. Today, he studies alcohol use among Alaska Natives as a graduate student at the University of Alaska Anchorage. In this “Alcohol & Me” interview, Wark talks about why keeping silent about alcohol abuse is hurting Alaskans. “ One of my lowest points in my own perspective was, I think in 8th grade, walking down the hallway in Hoonah high school and thinking how proud I was that my face was a mask, and that nobody could possibly know what I was feeling.” -- Kyle Wark, Anchorage
Posted on November 8, 2013
Lecon Chuitt grew up in Tyonek picking raisins out of his parents’ homebrew, he said. He was 8-years-old when his brother, 13, got drunk and killed himself. By the time he was a teenager, Chuitt was binge drinking too. A prison escape and armed robbery spree in his 20s landed him in prison for much of his adult life.
Posted on October 30, 2013
So many people died outdoors or vanished in Nome that the FBI once searched for signs of a serial killer and Hollywood made a movie blaming alien abductions. In truth, many people simply succumbed to a deadly mix of alcohol and bitter cold.
Posted on October 21, 2013
The Inupiat village of Shishmaref is the latest Alaska town to face a thorny, high-stakes choice. Voters are expected decide in a city election Tuesday whether to lift a 30-year-old ban on alcohol. Here, three voters say why they're voting wet or dry.
Posted by Marc Lester on October 13, 2013
Carlos Salazar, a 21-year-old father of two, was riding in the back seat of a Monte Carlo when the sedan was T-boned June 30 by a drunken driver, according to police. The crash killed Salazar’s friend, Citari Townes-Sweatt, and began a string of deadly alcohol-related traffic deaths in the city.