The City of Kodiak Police Department issued a statement on Tuesday saying that a routine traffic stop on the 3000 block of Spruce Cape Road on May 2 by Alaska State Troopers resulted in a flurry of roadside activity that saw two arrested with heroin and cash.
“State Troopers identified the driver of the vehicle as Sarena Espinoza and the passenger as Michael Richardson,” the police statement said. The police said they were familiar with both occupants -- known to police for several years in Kodiak. “Troopers became suspicious of possible drug activity during their traffic stop and contacted a drug enforcement detective from the Kodiak Police Department. Detectives from the Kodiak Police Department and the Alaska State Troopers conducted a joint investigation, which led to the application of several search warrants,” the statement said.
In the car, the police found three grams of black tar heroin with an approximate street value of $2,000 and $3,970 in cash. Both Espinoza and Richardson were arrested for misconduct involving a controlled substance in the second degree, a class A felony, which can result in 20 years’ imprisonment, the statement added. They were arraigned in court on May 3, 2014, with bail set at $50,000 each.
“The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible,” the Kodiak Police Department said.
This spells not only trouble for Espinoza and Richardson, but for Kodiak as well, which is coming to grips with a growing heroin and opiates problem. Just last month, police conducted the biggest drug bust in Kodiak history, nabbing $2.2 million of methamphetamine and heroin.
Although this bust was a shadow of the April 19-20 bust, it further hammers home the growing threat of heroin on the island.
Ken McCarty, a drug treatment counselor at Discovery Cove Counseling Center, reports that heroin and related opioids have made huge strides as choice drugs in Kodiak. McCarty runs Discovery Cove Recovery & Wellness Center, a suboxone clinic seen by some as one of the cutting edge treatments for heroin and opioid dependence. “You saw very little heroin in Kodiak two years ago because pain pills was it. And now heroin is big and addictions to opiates is huge,” McCarty said.
“It’s easy for them to get off of alcohol, meth, cocaine and other types of drugs. Heroin and opiates are a very powerful class of drugs that holds a person captive. They can’t get off of it — the withdrawal punishment is too great.”