Feds charge Palmer man in heroin death

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A 26-year-old Palmer man is facing federal charges on distribution of heroin resulting in a death.

Heroin powder. (Photo courtesy Drug Enforcement Administration)
Heroin powder. (Photo courtesy Drug Enforcement Administration)

Acting US Attorney Kevin Feldis announced the charges today in Anchorage.

Hiram Luis Ducasse, Jr.  is the only defendant named in the three – count indictment. Ducasse is being charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin, distribution of heroin resulting in a death and possession with intent to distribute. Feldis told reporters at a press conference at the US Attorney’s office that heroin has a devastating effect on communities.

“It’s a tragedy in so many ways. It’s a tragedy that we have a 26-year-old individual charged today with these federal felonies who thought he could profit by selling heroin to others. And of course it’s mostly a tragedy because we have a 22-year-old victim who died as a result of using this heroin.”
The deceased man is only referred to by the initials MC in the charging documents. He died in December after using drugs sold to him, prosecutors say, by Ducasse on November 30.
Feldis says the Ducasse indictment is the fourth time that federal charges have been brought against an Alaska dealer in a case resulting in death.

Federal and state drug enforcement officials worked with Alaska State Troopers on the case. Trooper Colonel James Cockrell says the heroin epidemic is hitting rural Alaska hard.

“And there’s not a village out there that is not affected by heroin, alcohol or meth. And not only that,it spawns all kinds of other crimes. Most of our property crimes in our urban areas, Mat Su Valley and Kenai Peninsula, it’s all drug fed. No different in the villages where they have very little cash. They gotta get that money from somewhere, so what do they do? They sell bootleg alcohol to get money to support their habits. ”
Assistant US Attorney Stephanie Courter , who is prosecuting the case against Ducasse, says toxicology reports contribute to tracing the drug back to it’s source.

“That’s the work of law enforcement. That’s what street level investigations are all about, are about gathering that evidence and putting a case together to ultimately meet our burden in court.”

Attorney Feldis says Ducasse could face a twenty year sentence. He will be arraigned in federal court in a few days.
The indictment is related to two other indictments being issued today [Thursday] against individuals in Wasilla, Palmer and in California.