Heroin bust jails 67-year-old Ketchikan woman

Zaz Hollander

A 67-year-old Ketchikan woman was jailed Wednesday for selling heroin in her hometown, Alaska State Troopers said.

Brenda Murphy sold 1.4 grams of black tar heroin to a confidential informant at two separate buys at her home in June and August, according to an affidavit filed by troopers investigator Larry Dur'an. The informant paid Murphy $625 in total, the document says.

Using a search warrant served Wednesday at Murphy's Knudson Cove Road home, Dur'an found no heroin but did discover two digital scales apparently covered in heroin, a knife, multiple unused baggies, a ledger and money of an undisclosed amount, according to the affidavit.

Murphy was arrested Wednesday on two counts each of second- and fourth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance, troopers said. She was jailed without bail at Ketchikan Correctional Center. An arraignment hearing was scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Brenda Murphy is a well-known member of the Ketchikan community, a friend said. Her late husband, John Murphy, was the first operator of the Ketchikan Shipyard, according to Doug Ward of Alaska Shipyard & Drydock, the current shipyard operator. Murphy also owned Ketchikan Welding Company. He died of cancer several years ago, Ward said.

Brenda Murphy also has cancer, he said.

Heroin is an increasing problem in Ketchikan, especially among 20-somethings, said deputy police chief Josh Dossett. Along with growing numbers of arrests, police are responding more often to heroin overdoses, including one recent death, Dossett said.

The drug comes in from Portland and Seattle, he said: "It's become quite the problem here."

The Ketchikan Police Department and Alaska Wildlife Troopers assisted in the arrest.

Reach Zaz Hollander at zhollander@adn.com or 257-4317.