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Crime & Courts

8 people charged in connection with ‘major’ Anchorage drug ring

A multi-year investigation led to charges against eight people in connection with a "major" heroin and methamphetamine ring, and the recovery of hundreds of thousands of dollars, drugs, stolen firearms and even a pipe bomb, the Anchorage district attorney's office said on Wednesday.

Melissa Knight, Mona Galliher, Courtney Renee Tweedy-Pederson, Thomas Flammini, Patricia England, Christopher Gowen, Daniel Carstens and Natasha Knight were indicted last week by an Anchorage grand jury, the release said.

Patricia England (Anchorage Police Department)

Galliher and England had warrants out for their arrest on Wednesday.

Knight was the "leader of the drug ring," the district attorney's office said in a written statement. Prosecutors said that the charges are based on cellphone records and "other information learned during the investigation."

Knight managed "five or more" people who were also distributing drugs, the statement said. She faces 13 charges, online records show, including first-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance for leading a criminal enterprise. She faces up to 99 years in prison if convicted.

Mona Galliher (Anchorage Police Department)

The Anchorage Police Department started its investigation into the drug ring in December 2015 with undercover heroin purchases, the release said.

Over the next year and a half, police searched seven locations, finding more than 300 grams of heroin, nearly three pounds of marijuana, almost $200,000 in cash, 200 grams of methamphetamine, hundreds of prescription pills, including oxycodone and Xanax, scales and packaging materials, the statement said.

A pipe bomb was recovered and disposed of by the APD bomb disposal unit. Police also found "nearly a dozen firearms which were either reported stolen or determined to have been used in furtherance of drug distribution," the statement said.

Anyone with information about Galliher or England was asked to call the Anchorage Police Department at (907) 786-8900, or provide tips anonymously through Anchorage Crime Stoppers at (907) 561-7707 or online.

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