An Alaska State Trooper cruiser. Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM file.

This week the Nome Western Alaska Alcohol and Narcotics Team (WAANT) lead a multi-jurisdictional drug bust that resulted in a seizure of 7 grams of heroin, approximately $4,300 in cash and paraphernalia, as well as 8 individuals arrested.

Those arrested include: Felicia Larsen, Paul Benchoff Jr, Ida Booshu, Daniel Atkinson, Michael McGowan Jr. and Joan Miller all of Nome, along with Yvonne Aukon of Wasilla and Joel Orazio of Anchorage.

According to a dispatch from Alaska State Troopers, the Nome Office of Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit has been investigating the sale and distribution of heroin and methamphetamine since January, 2020.  Through various techniques and tactics, the investigators were able to determine that numerous individuals were distributing and selling the illicit drugs. 

Nome’s WAANT task force is leading the investigation, but has received assistance from AST investigators, the Bethel Police Department, Nome AST, Nome PD and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force. On Thursday October 29th they were able to serve several warrants in Nome that lead to the arrests and seizures. 

All of the suspects have been remanded to Anvil Mountain Correctional Center and are being held without bail pending arraignment.

Nome’s Office of Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit recognizes the need for the community’s assistance, and encourages anyone with information on the sale or distribution of illicit drugs call (907)-443-2835 or 1-800-476-3325.

Image at top: Alaska State Trooper cruiser. Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM file.