A 71-year-old Kodiak resident was arrested at Anchorage International Airport after investigators found 740 grams of heroin and 389 grams of methamphetamine cached inside a goat intestine in the man’s luggage.
That amounts to one of the largest drug busts ever seen by the Kodiak Police Department, with 7,400 user doses of heroin and 3,890 user doses of methamphetamine, and an estimated street value of $400,000.
Cenen Placencia was contacted by the Anchorage Airport Interdiction Team before he boarded a Kodiak-bound flight, and was sent to the Anchorage Jail on federal drug trafficking charges.
Placencia’s arrest follows a months-long investigation by the Kodiak High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area group, which is comprised of members of the Alaska State Troopers Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit, Kodiak Police Department and Coast Guard Investigative Service.
In February, the group began looking into how drugs were coming into Kodiak, according to the trooper report.
On March 11, a search warrant in Placencia’s residence led to the seizure of approximately 247 grams of suspected heroin, 13 grams of crystal methamphetamine, and $2,279 in suspected drug proceeds, according to an affidavit submitted by a Coast Guard Investigative Services special agent.
In July, a confidential informant told investigators that Placencia had previously used a lamb carcass to transfer drugs from Anchorage to Kodiak.
Investigators contacted Placencia on Wednesday around 8 a.m. Placencia was ticketed on Ravn Airline Flight 888 to Kodiak at 8:30 a.m.
Placencia provided consent to search his checked luggage, which consisted of a large fish box. The box was taped shut with duct tape and tied with a rope. The luggage tag indicated the box weighed approximately 47 pounds.
The box was opened, revealing a large mass of meat wrapped in heavy plastic and duct taped shut. The meat appeared to have some pieces of animal skin and did not appear to be for human consumption, according to the affidavit. Investigators concluded the meat packaging was inconsistent with how meat is normally packaged and shipped.
Placencia consented to investigators thawing and searching the meat. While the meat was thawing, investigators detected an odor consistent with spoiled meat. Additionally, a narcotics detection dog sniffed the box and alerted to the presence of narcotics, according to the affidavit.
Placencia then revoked his consent for the search and rebooked his flight for Ravn Air flight 892 to Kodiak at 5:40 p.m. A search warrant was granted and the search of the fish box resumed. Investigators located several balls slightly larger than golf balls of duct tape inside the intestine of what investigators believed to be a goat.
Inside the wrapped balls were plastic bags containing heroin and methamphetamine. In total, six packages containing 740 grams of heroin and six packages of 389 grams of methamphetamine were identified and seized.
Placencia stated he packed the box himself and purchased the goat for $140 from a rancher in California. Placencia also said he intended to eat the goat intestines and denied having any knowledge of the drugs found inside the goat, according to the affidavit.
Placencia was arraigned on Friday on a complaint charging him with possessing with intent to distribute controlled substances. If convicted, he faces a statutory maximum of 40 years in prison, a $5 million fine, and a minimum of four years of supervised release, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina Sherman.
According to Kodiak Police Sgt. Francis de la Fuente, this is one of the largest drug busts that the Kodiak Police Department has seen. He said that this will likely cause a short-term shortage in drug supply in Kodiak, which will cause drug prices to go up.
“Others suppliers will take advantage of it. That’s why we’re working on more ways to stop the flow of drugs coming into the island,” he said.
De la Fuente added that investigation is ongoing.
“If you are the one selling drugs, you’re not the big fish. There are multiple things they are still investigating,” he said, adding that the three law enforcement agencies in Kodiak work in close cooperation in terms of intelligence and manpower assistance.
According to his Facebook profile, Placencia is an employee of Ocean Beauty Seafoods, and is originally from the Philippines.