Juneau, AK (KINY) - The case involving a 35 year-old Seattle man named Zerisenay Gebregiorgis conspiring to deliver drugs to Ketchikan and Sitka has gone to the jury.
Gebregiorgis's attorney, Rex Butler, called his own client a drug dealer and said he is someone who did arrange with women to be quote "suitcases" to bring drugs to Southeast Alaska. Butler's defense of his client is a claim that the government prosecutors did not prove when agreements to engage in criminal enterprises happened and suggested that an agreement, if there was one, could have been outside the dates listed in the charging document of July 1st, 2016, to August 16, 2016. Butler classified his client as a 'Lone Ranger' drug dealer who was getting ripped off by people in Ketchikan and Sitka, people who planned to use the drugs and not pay.
Assistant US Attorney Jack Schmidt listed multiple people as having conspired with Gebregiogis as part of the federal case, including the two women that transported drugs and the two men that received drugs in Ketchikan and Sitka. While one of the men informed on the defendant starting in mid-July there was debate over if he was considered an informant earlier in the month when he accepted drugs shipped by the defendant.
The case has now gone to the jury. For News of the North, I'm Kris Sell.
UPDATE (12-6-17 5:00pm AKST) - Zerisenay Gebregiorgis was deemed guilty by the jury. Assistant US Attorney Jack Schmidt says that he will be facing a minimum of 60 months of jail time. Sentencing is set for March 5, 2018.