Anchorage Couple Sentenced for Drug, Gun, and Money Laundering Crimes
ANCHORAGE, AK—U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that an Anchorage couple was sentenced on Friday, July 17, 2015, by United States District Court Judge Timothy M. Burgess to serve 135 months and 72 months respectively for their involvement in drug trafficking, money laundering, and gun crimes.
Daniel Martin Harris, 28, of Anchorage, Alaska, previously pled guilty to drug trafficking and money laundering crimes as well as being a convicted felon in possession of multiple firearms. Daniel’s wife, Sandra Luz Harris, 26, also of Anchorage, previously admitted maintaining the couple’s Anchorage home for the purpose of distributing methamphetamine and heroin.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie C. Courter, who prosecuted both cases, Daniel Harris was a longtime heroin and methamphetamine dealer in the Anchorage area. He regularly purchased both drugs on credit from his Anchorage-based supplier. After selling the drugs, Mr. Harris then kept the profits for himself. With these funds, he purchased vehicles, including a 1977 Corvette and a 1970 El Camino, as well as other items, which he later took affirmative steps to hide from law enforcement. Mr. Harris returned the remaining cash proceeds to his source in order to promote the parties’ continued drug trafficking. Over a six month period in 2013, Mr. Harris paid his supplier approximately $508,000 in cash drug proceeds. In October and November 2013, he paid his supplier an additional $75,000 in cash earned from selling heroin and methamphetamine.
In October 2013, federal investigators raided the Anchorage house where Mr. Harris’ supplier maintained his drug operation. During the search, investigators recovered five pounds of methamphetamine, five kilograms of cocaine, and tens of thousands of dollars in cash. They also seized a detailed drug ledger cataloguing Mr. Harris’ drug distribution and money laundering activities.
One month later, in November 2013, officers of the Anchorage Police Department (APD) responded to a 911 call from the trailer that Mr. Harris shared with his wife and young son. While at the residence, investigators discovered that the Harris couple had stored large quantities of heroin and methamphetamine as well as numerous items of drug paraphernalia, including milk jugs full of syringes used for injecting heroin, loaded syringes full of heroin, large amounts of cash, multiple digital scales, and a money counter. In the master bedroom, investigators discovered a backpack containing approximately 331 grams of methamphetamine, 372 grams of heroin, and a loaded handgun. Elsewhere inside, they found multiple additional firearms, including an AR-15 rifle and two semi-automatic pistols, a grinder containing more heroin, and other indicia of significant, large-scale drug trafficking activities.
In sentencing the couple, Judge Burgess noted the seriousness of their offenses and the need to protect the public. In Daniel Harris’ case, Judge Burgess specifically remarked that mixing guns and drugs is often a prescription for disaster. In sentencing Sandra Harris, who had no criminal history prior to becoming involved in her husband’s drug trafficking, Judge Burgess noted that there was a good chance that she could be rehabilitated but cautioned that the seriousness of her actions could not be ignored.
Following his release from custody, Daniel Harris will be on supervised release for a total of five years. The court also entered a money judgment against Mr. Harris in the amount of $583,000—the total amount of drug money laundered as part of the case. Following her release, Sandra Harris will be on supervised release for three years, during which time she will have to complete 200 hours of community service. Mrs. Harris was not included in the money judgment as she was not directly involved in her husband’s money laundering crimes.
In announcing the sentences, U.S. Attorney Loeffler thanked the many agents whose work contributed to the cases. The cases were investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), and included the work of agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Anchorage Police Department (APD).