A jailed inmate and his attorney are facing federal charges for a scheme to allegedly distribute drugs to an Anchorage Correctional Complex for sale between inmates, according to federal prosecutors.
Kit Lee Karjala, a 54 year-old attorney and her 33 year old client, Christopher Brandon Miller, an inmate at the ACC, are charged with distribution of, and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, drug conspiracy, and providing and possessing contraband in prison.
A statement made by the Alaska U.S. attorney’s office on Thursday said that Karjala and four other inmates allegedly started this smuggling ring during the second half of last year and continued “until the present”. Prosecutors claim that Karjala allegedly took advantage of her attorney-client visits to smuggle drugs to Miller, and also other inmates that were not her clients. Karjala would allegedly transfer the drugs while blocking the cameras and then the inmate would allegedly carry the drugs “inside his body” into the jail, according to the statement.
An Anchorage FBI Special Agent, Richard Fuller, mentioned several “professional visits” by Karjala to Miller and the other inmates in an affidavit supporting the charges against Karjala. Since Karjala was an attorney she was allowed visits with the inmates in a room that was only monitored by video cameras that didn’t record audio.
Jail staff did not mention how they came to know about this drug smuggling ring. However, through using an X-ray they found a “suspicious item” in Miller’s body cavity following a visit with Karjala. Miller was then placed in “dry-cell” status. Dry-cell status is used when staff needs to closely monitor an inmate in a cell with camera equipment to find out if they are carrying illicit items.
According to the affidavit, Miller had later passed strips of paper that tested positive for Suboxone. Correctional officers also found two plastic jars that he was concealing in his armpit, which tested positive for a “distributable quantity” of heroin.
Dean Williams, a DOC Commissioner, said Thursday that he is informed “almost every week” about cases of inmates trying to smuggle drugs into the facilities, but he couldn’t recall any other cases of smuggling involving attorneys.
If you or someone you love is suspected of drug smuggling, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949)477-8088 for a consultation now.