Crime & Courts

Anchorage man who took part in torturing man before putting him in a dog kennel sentenced to 50 years in prison

An Anchorage man was sentenced Wednesday to 50 years in federal prison for charges of kidnapping and drug trafficking related to a 2017 crime when he beat and tortured a man before shoving him into a dog kennel, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska.

Macauther Christmas Vaifanua, 32, is one of five people charged in the federal case. Macauther Vaifanua was sentenced for charges of kidnapping and drug trafficking, and a charge for brandishing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime was dismissed. He still faces charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery and assault in Anchorage Superior Court.

Also charged are 31-year-old Faamanu Vaifanua, 33-year-old Jeffrey Ahvan, 28-year-old Rex Faumui and 25-year-old Tamole Lauina, who was charged as an accessory. The Vaifanuas, Faumui and Ahvan are awaiting trial on related charges in state court.

Both Macauther and Faamanu Vaifanua, who are brothers, sold heroin between 2015 and 2017, a plea agreement signed by Macauther Vaifanua said.

Macauther Vaifanua believed one of the men who he sold heroin to had burglarized his home, the agreement said. He asked his brother to help beat the man, who police at the time identified as Abshir Mohamed, arrived to buy drugs on Aug. 13, 2017, the agreement said.

After the drug deal had been completed, the Vaifanuas, Ahvan and Faumui directed him into the garage where they threatened him with a gun, the agreement said. During the next hour, they restrained him, gagged him, beat him with a baseball bat and broom handle, and kicked and stomped his head, the plea agreement said. They then put him in a wire dog kennel, the agreement said.

Macauther Vaifanua told a man in a nearby pickup truck to back up to the garage door and the men loaded the kennel onto the truck, the agreement said. Macauther Vaifanua held the driver at gunpoint and told him to leave, the agreement said.

The driver brought Mohamed to a hospital.

“He was comatose when he arrived and had suffered brain hemorrhaging and damage; skull and face fractures; multiple bone fractures; and lingering physical and mental disabilities,” the agreement said.

Macauther Vaifanua is the first of the group to receive a sentence on the federal charges, but plea agreements are filed for three of the other defendants, according to court records. All remain in custody, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska said in a statement Thursday.