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Crime & Courts

FBI seeks public’s help finding defense attorney accused of smuggling drugs into Anchorage jail

The FBI is seeking the public's help finding an Anchorage defense attorney accused of conspiring with her client to smuggle drugs into the Anchorage jail.

Kit Lee Karjala (U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska)

Additional charges were filed Thursday against defense attorney Kit Lee Karjala, 55, and her client, 34-year-old Brandon Miller, also known as "Mellow." In the original indictment last year, each faced only two charges related to the alleged drug conspiracy. Now, Karjala and Miller each face 15 and 14 charges, respectively.

The charges, filed Thursday by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Alaska, include drug conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and providing contraband in prison.

In addition, Karjala faces a separate indictment for failure to appear after she skipped a bail review hearing Tuesday, federal prosecutors said.

A warrant has been issued for Karjala's arrest, and the FBI is asking anyone who knows of her whereabouts to call 907-276-4441.

Federal prosecutors say that between June 2016 and May 2017, Karjala passed drugs to "co-conspirator inmates," including Miller, during attorney-client meetings at the Anchorage jail.

Karjala was allowed to meet clients in rooms where she was not physically separated from the inmates, as she purported to be at the jail for professional visits, prosecutors said. During those visits, Karjala would hand a package of drugs to the inmate, who would then hide the drugs inside his body, to be sold later inside the jail for profit.

A video frame alleges concealment of contraband as attorney Kit Lee Karjala visits inmate Christopher Brandon Miller at the Anchorage jail. (Alaska Department of Corrections)

Thursday's filing says that during five jail visits between June 2016 and May 2017, Karjala and Miller smuggled heroin; methamphetamine; a substance containing THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana; and Buprenorphine, an opioid, into the Anchorage jail.

In February 2017, Karjala told Miller that she wasn't taking on any new cases and would have more time "to do things" and "get things done" for Miller, the indictment said.

Karjala also gave drugs to another inmate, who is identified only by initials J.B, to smuggle inside the jail, federal prosecutors said.

Karjala and Miller also withdrew or transferred money to and from various accounts in support of their drug smuggling, prosecutors say, and both have been charged with money laundering.

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