Juneau meth dealer sentenced to more than 14 years

Casey Grove

A Juneau man will spend more than 14 years behind bars after his sentencing in federal court Friday for receiving six ounces of methamphetamine he intended to deal in the Southeast Alaska city.

Darrell Dawson, 44, pleaded guilty in September to a charge of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, according to court records. On Friday, a judge sentenced Dawson to 170 months in prison.

According to court documents, including separate charging documents, plea agreements and Dawson's sentencing memorandum, it happened like this:

A woman named Gema Thomas asked her Washington State meth connection to send her six ounces of the powerful stimulant via the U.S. Postal Service in exchange for about $6,000, which she deposited in the suppliers bank account. A postal inspector intercepted the shipment -- sent from an Olympia, Wash., flower shop -- and found the drugs in three sugar shakers in July. Authorities put a device into the package that would alert them when it was opened and delivered it to the post office box for PeerAmid Beads, Thomas's business in Juneau.

A person named only as "Coconspirator 1" in an application for a search warrant -- who appears to be Thomas -- picked up the package and brought it home. Federal agents were on her tail. They confronted the woman in her garage, and she agreed to cooperate. About 15 minutes later, Dawson arrived on his Honda motorcycle with his girlfriend, Dusty Labadie, who appeared to look around for any sign of law enforcement.

Thomas left a door to her garage ajar, and Dawson came inside to get the package. He removed the sugar shakers, and that's when the agents pounced. Dawson tried to run back inside, but the agents arrested him.

Prosecutors wrote in Dawson's sentencing memorandum that he is a "career offender," describing his criminal history as "abysmal." From the age of 17 until the July arrest, Dawson racked up convictions for driving and alcohol offenses, drug dealing and sexual abuse of a minor.

"Dawson was part of a significant drug trafficking conspiracy to import and sell a large amount of pure methamphetamine in Juneau," the prosecutors wrote. "Methamphetamine is a cancer and many Southeast communities have suffered at the hands of this epidemic for years."

Thomas, Dawson's coconspirator, pleaded guily in December and is awaiting sentencing.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.