Lawyer arrested, charged with smuggling drugs to jailed client

An Anchorage attorney and her client are charged with smuggling drugs into jail.

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Lawyer Kit Karjala¬†was behind bars Thursday,¬†accused of concealing heroin inside court papers she gave to her client, Christopher Brandon Miller, a.k.a. “Mellow,” while visiting him at Anchorage Correctional Complex, according to the charges.

Federal prosecutors allege that the two pretended to discuss Miller’s case while Miller slipped the drugs inside himself and, eventually, into jail.

The news comes on the heels of the sentencing for a former corrections officer convicted of smuggling drugs into a different correctional facility.

Corrections Commissioner Dean Williams said his staff have been more successful fighting drug smuggling recently by working with federal authorities and sharing information.

Neither Commissioner Williams nor the federal prosecutor on the case will say where Karjala got the heroin she allegedly gave to Miller, or why she would have done it. But Williams said, in general, it is important for people interacting with inmates — lawyers, corrections officers and others — to avoid getting manipulated.

“You know, people don’t get compromised, usually, overnight, it’s sort of bit by bit,” Williams said. “That’s one of the things we train our staff about, is don’t let yourself get compromised in the smallest way, because it could tempt you to get compromised in a large way. Nobody’s above slipping up in the right circumstances.”

The charges say Carjala and her son received multiple money transfers to their accounts from a different inmate who is unnamed in the charging document. That person had received many anonymous cash deposits, according to the charges.

Karjala has been a registered lawyer in Alaska since 2002.