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Women face illegal alcohol charges after texting trooper

Casey Grove

Two women are charged with trying to buy black-market booze in Bethel after accidentally sending a text message about the alcohol to an off-duty Alaska State Trooper, troopers said.

Residents of the Southwest Alaska city say nearly all cell phone numbers start with a 545 prefix.

An incoming text message buzzed Trooper Mike Ingram's cell phone about 12:10 a.m. Wednesday, troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said. Ingram wasn't working and didn't recognize the sender's phone number, but he surmised from the message that the person was looking for drugs or alcohol.

"He realized what was happening so he went with it," Peters said.

Ingram continued the conversation and convinced the person to met him at the Bethel city limits, troopers said. Peters said Ingram would not disclose precisely where he met the prospective buyer.

Thirty minutes later, now in uniform, Ingram met with two women. One was 28 and the other 32. The older woman had about $100 in cash with which she hoped to buy alcohol, troopers said.

Bethel residents voted in 2010 to allow the sale of alcohol from licensed distributors, but the city has yet to issue a license. Buying from an unlicensed distributor, as in the Wednesday case, is still illegal.

Charges against the women were forwarded to the Bethel District Attorney's Office. Troopers did not release the women's names, because the charges were still pending Wednesday, Peters said.

Reach Casey Grove at or 257-4589.

Anchorage Daily News