Kodiak meth, heroin bust is biggest in police department's history

Casey Grove

Kodiak police say they nabbed heroin and methamphetamine worth a total of nearly $2.2 million on Saturday, the largest-ever drug bust in the Kodiak Police Department's history.

An investigation that started in January led to the arrest of Washington state resident Eric McDaniel, 44, and the seizure of about 25.3 ounces of meth and 1.8 ounces of "high-grade" heroin, according to a written statement Monday from the department. He faces charges of second- and third-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance.

McDaniel, a fugitive with a lengthy criminal record, started dealing drugs in Kodiak in December, Police Chief Ronda Wallace wrote in the statement.

"Law enforcement officers had contacted him the following month when he was at a residence in Kodiak, which is associated with narcotics activity," Wallace wrote.

After tips from the community and months of surveilling McDaniel, detectives got a search warrant for his hotel room. Saturday morning, they "lured" McDaniel outside and arrested him, the police chief's statement says.

McDaniel's girlfriend, Tina Bettroff, 32, ran away when she saw the officers approach, according to the statement. A tip to police had indicated Bettroff was dealing drugs with McDaniel, according to Detective Michael Sortor's affidavit filed with the charges against McDaniel. Court records show Bettroff also faces charges of second- and third-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance.

Inside the hotel room, police found a white plastic dish holding methamphetamine, Sortor's affidavit says.

"Further investigation revealed a black hardened Pelican brand equipment case that was stashed inside of the oven," Sortor wrote. "I removed the case from the oven, and when it was opened, I discovered what could only be considered as a massive amount of methamphetamine for the Kodiak area."

There were several large bags holding meth and smaller bags with a white-tan powder that later tested positive for heroin, the affidavit says. Police also found a digital scale, packaging material and meth pipes, Sortor wrote.

The value of the drugs, if sold on the street, is estimated at a total of $2,195,950, according to the police department statement.

"Based on the weight of the methamphetamine and heroin and the digital scale and the amount of residue present on the scale, what was on hand was indicative of drug distribution," Sortor wrote.

McDaniel has 17 prior felony convictions from Washington, many for drug related crimes, the affidavit says.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4343. Twitter updates: twitter.com/kcgrove.