The Mat-Su Narcotic Unit used an electronic tracking device to thwart three Wasilla residents the unit believes were attempting to import a large amount of heroin, a drug rarely found in Alaska.
According to affidavits that lead investigator Mike Ingram filed with the case and interviews with law enforcement, it all started Feb. 7 when the unit intercepted a Fed-Ex packaged filled with 7 ounces of "Mexican brown" heroin.
On Feb. 17, a Palmer grand jury indicted Joe Jorgenson, 53, Alvin Severence III, 26, and Mandy Still, 25, all of Wasilla. Jorgenson faces two felony drug charges. Severence and Still face five each.
The package was addressed to Jorgenson, Ingram wrote in his affidavits. The narcotics team opened the box, removed the heroin and repackaged the box with a tracking device. It then conducted a "controlled delivery," Ingram wrote.
Officers allowed Jorgenson to pick up the package from a FedEx branch in Wasilla. They followed him to a home Severence and Still leased on South Outrigger Road. Jorgenson took the package inside and, soon after, the tracking beacon alerted officers that the package had been opened, affidavits state.
Alaska State Troopers spokesman Greg Wilkinson said tracking beacons are commonly used in controlled deliveries. Usually, he said, officers empty the package of its illicit contents, leaving some behind to make clear that the suspects were intending to take delivery of the drugs or other illegal items inside. The officers fill the rest of the package with the tracking device and a space filler like newspapers or towels to maintain the package's approximate weight.
Once the box was opened, officers entered the home. They found Jorgenson in the garage with the open box. Also in the house were Severence and Still as well as an 8-year-old child and Jacob Still, 23, of Wasilla.
Regarding Jacob Sill, "I can just say he wasn't charged," Ingram said in an interview.
Wilkinson said that because of rules governing the release of information about children, he could say nothing about the child.
Officers searched the home and found three grams of cocaine and an ounce of marijuana as well as drug paraphernalia, including a scale and "packing materials commonly used in the sales and distribution of illicit narcotics," Ingram wrote.
One of the additional counts facing Still and Severence relates to the cocaine. Another alleges that the couple used their house to sell drugs.
Heroin is uncommon in Alaska. Ingram said he hasn't seen much of the drug in the Mat-Su but it is becoming more common. In all of last year, troopers seized 18.8 grams of heroin in the state, Wilkinson said. The 7 ounces in this case were more than 10 times that amount.
The Mat-Su Narcotics Unit includes investigators from the Alaska Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Enforcement, Wasilla Police Department and the Palmer Police Department.