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North Slope police seize liquor, pot from village-bound mail

Kyle Hopkins

North Slope Borough Police, working with U.S. postal inspectors, recently seized nearly $29,000 in marijuana and bootleg liquor destined for three northern villages, the department says.

The majority of the busts were part of a seven-day effort in Anchorage to capture drugs and illegal liquor before the contraband could be shipped from Alaska's largest city to North Slope villages that ban alcohol. The investigation began July 21, the department said.

All told, North Slope investigators and Postal Service inspectors seized:

• 25 bottles of Rich and Rare Canadian Whisky
• Two bottles of Captain Morgan Rum
• One bottle of Gilbey’s Vodka
• 7 ounces of marijuana

The 750-milliliter bottles were to be mailed to Wainwright and Point Hope, where they would have a combined street value of $5,600, police said in a series of news releases. The pot, worth an estimated $13,200 in resale value, was headed to Barrow, police said.

Police declined to name any of the people suspected of attempting to mail or receive the goods, citing ongoing investigations. Charges might be filed at both the state and federal levels, the department said.

On Monday, borough police working in Anchorage also intercepted an additional 5.5 ounces of pot worth an estimated $10,400. The drugs were destined for Nuiqsut, according to police. It was not immediately clear if that seizure was part of the same weeklong investigation as the other busts.

That case is expected to lead to felony drug charges before a grand jury, police said.

Unlike most of rural Alaska, North Slope villages are policed by armed borough police officers rather than state troopers or village public safety officers. The Barrow-based department uses an alcohol-finding dog and sometimes works in Anchorage and Fairbanks to intercept booze or drugs before they are shipped to dry North Slope villages. 

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