ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A daring Alaska bank employee who boxed up $4.3 million in cash, rolled it to his car and flew it to Seattle was sentenced to 10 years in prison for bank theft. Gerardo Valenzuela, 34, also known as Gary Cazarez, was sentenced Monday in federal court after pleading guilty in January. Prosecutors say the judge gave him no credit for the seven years he served in a Mexico prison after his conviction there for smuggling cash, guns and ammunition.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A leader in an Alaska village says many residents worked to extinguish a jail fire that killed two prisoners and injured a guard who was trying to free them. KYUK Public Media in Bethel reports Napakiak is in mourning over the early Sunday morning deaths. The victims have tentatively been identified by Alaska State Troopers as 24-year-old Becca White and 22-year-old Isaiah Parka, both of Napakiak. KYUK reported the two were in custody for driving a four-wheeler while intoxicated.
On 04/27/2019 at approximately 1430 hours, AST received a report of two missing juveniles near mile 288 of the Parks Highway. The report indicated that at approximately 1410 hours the juveniles had left a residence nearby and hadn't been seen since. AST was informed of exigent circumstances which necessitated as full a response as possible. Four State Troopers, one VPSO, as well as AST's Helo 2 immediately responded to the area. AST also received the assistance of local volunteers, the Anderson Volunteer Fire Department, and the Nenana Volunteer Fire Department. Clear AFS also activated their resources at AST request, and both PAWS as well as WSAR began a response to the area.
At approximately 1530 hours the two juveniles were located by a volunteer searcher approximately half a mile away from the originating residence. The juveniles were treated for mild hypothermia and released to their parent.
AST would like to extend its gratitude for the outstanding response it received from the surrounding communities and agencies.
Location: North Pole
Type: Fail To Yield/VCOR
On 4-29-19 at approximately 0141 hours, Troopers attempted to make a traffic stop for multiple violations on a vehicle on Badger Road near Hurst Road. The vehicle failed to stop for two fully marked Trooper patrol vehicles with emergency lights and sirens activated. The vehicle fled from Troopers for approximately two miles prior to pulling into an unrelated residence. The driver was identified as Shawn Murphy, 43 of North Pole. Subsequent investigation revealed Shawn was violating conditions of release from three previous court cases. Shawn was arrested for Failing to Stop at the Direction of a Peace Officer and three counts of Violating Conditions of Release. Shawn was remanded at FCC where he was held without bail pending arraignment.
Location: Goldmine Trail
Type: DUI & Refusal
On April 29, 2019 at 0012 hours Alaska State Troopers received a REDDI report of an intoxicated driver near the Steese Highway. Troopers responded and contacted Gretchen Nolan, age 43 of Fairbanks. Investigation resulted in the arrest of Nolan for Driving Under the Influence. She was remanded to the Fairbanks Correctional Center and held on $1,000 bail for DUI and Refusal to Submit to a Chemical Test.
Type: VCOR X4
On 4-27-19 at approximately 2335 hours, Troopers made contact with a male near Wells Fargo on University Ave. The individual was identified as Howard Hoelscher, 56 of Fairbanks. Investigation revealed Howard was violating conditions of release in two separate court cases. Howard was arrested on four counts of Violating Conditions of Release and remanded at FCC where he was held without bail.
Location: Parks Highway
Type: Assault 3rd (x2), Reckless Driving, Road Rage
On 04/27/2019 at approximately 1847 hours Alaska State Troopers received a report of an ongoing road rage incident which was traveling from Nenana towards Fairbanks on the Parks Highway. The vehicles involved were a white GMC pickup, a black GMC pickup, and a motorcycle. Troopers located the motorcycle and conducted a traffic stop at mile 340 Parks Highway. Investigation determined Evan Gentry, age 24 from Fairbanks pointed a handgun at the driver of the white truck. Gentry was arrested for Assault 3rd (x2), Reckless Driving, and Driving in violation of license limitation. Gentry was remanded to FCC where he was held without bail. Charges on the driver of the black truck will be forward to the DA for review. Anyone who witnessed this incident or had to take action to avoid a collision is encouraged to contact Trooper Bozman at (907)451-5100.
On 4-28-19 at approximately 0315 hours, Troopers conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for a moving violation near S. Cushman Ave. and Airport Rd. One of the occupants of the vehicle was identified as Emily Jordan, 25 of Fairbanks. Investigation revealed Emily was violating conditions of her release from a previous court case. Emily was arrested for Violating Conditions of Release and remanded at FCC where she was held without bail.
Location: North Pole
Type: Criminal Mischief 5 - DV
On 4/27/2019, at approximately 1151 hours, Fairbanks AST responded to a report of damaged property on Dawson Road. Investigation revealed that Devin Starnes, age 19 of North Pole, had punched several holes in a family members house. Starnes was placed under arrest and remanded to FCC without bail on the charge of Criminal Mischief 5.
While investigating the incident, Troopers also contacted Darel Puller, age 20 of North Pole. Investigation revealed that Puller had an outstanding AST warrant for his arrest. Puller was placed under arrest and remanded to FCC with bail set at $250, 10% cash.
On 04-27-19 at approximately 0033 hours, Alaska State Troopers in Fairbanks conducted a traffic stop on a 1993 GMC SUV for a moving violation on Easy Street in Fairbanks. Investigation revealed Judith Thompson, age 72 of Fairbanks, was operating the vehicle while impaired by alcohol. Thompson was arrested on one count Driving Under the Influence and remanded to Fairbanks Correctional Center. Bail was set at Own Recognizance.
Type: Theft in the Second Degree/Parole Violation
On 4/27/19 at approximately 0251 hours, the Alaska State Troopers contacted Arthur S. L. Chesley, 38 years old, of Salcha at a property near Old Steese Highway near Fox. AST was conducting a security check of the property due to recent burglaries in the area. The investigation revealed Chesley was in possession of stolen property from a burglary reported on 4/26/19. Chesley was arrested for Theft in the Second Degree and Parole Violation. Chesley was remanded at Fairbanks Correctional Center where he was held without bail. The investigation is ongoing.
Type: Assault 4th (DV)
On 04/23/2019 at 1832 hours the Alaska State Troopers received a report about a domestic violence event in Salcha. Investigation determined John Smith, age 71 from Salcha assaulted a family member causing them injury. Smith was arrested for Assault 4th (DV) and remanded to Fairbanks Correctional Center where he was held without bail.
Type: Fatal Fire
UPDATE: The deceased have been tentatively identified as Becca White, age 24, and Isaiah Parka, age 22, both of Napakiak. Their next of kin have been notified. Positive identification still needs to be confirmed by the State Medical Examiner’s Office. The two jail guards were both transported out of the community for treatment. It was determined that one of the jail guards did not need further treatment. The other jail guard was medivaced out of state and is reportedly in serious but stable condition. The General Investigation Unit out of the Mat-Su is taking case responsibility and working in conjunction with the State Fire Marshals Office.
On April 28, 2019 at approximately 0127 hours, Alaska State Troopers received a report that the Napakiak Jail was fully engulfed in flames. It was reported that two Jail Guards were able to get out of the building; however, two prisoners who were inside the jail cells were not able to get free. One of the Jail Guards received significant injuries while attempting to free the two prisoners. The injured Jail Guard was medivaced out of the community to receive treatment for his injuries. The other Jail Guard reported that the fire was a result of one of the prisoners setting fire to the mattress in their jail cell. Patrol Troopers from Bethel responded. After the fire was out, two bodies were located at the scene. They will be sent to the State Medical Examiner's office in Anchorage for autopsy and positive identification. Deputy Fire Marshals and an ABI investigator from Anchorage are also responding to the community to investigate.
On 4/28/19 at approximately 1101 hours, Kodiak Alaska State Troopers received a report from a 53 year old female that her husband, Tandy Ford-Roberts (52 years old) and son, Jesse Ford Roberts (30 years old) had not returned from an ATV trip. Tandy and Jesse had left yesterday morning (4/27/19) at approximately 0900 hours to go on an ATV trip from the Miam trail head to Saltery. They were supposed to return yesterday evening but had not returned. The United States Coast Guard was notified and searched the area via helicopter. AWT Trooper's and a local Kodiak resident also searched the area by ATV.
At approximately 2015 hours, Kodiak AST was notified by the Coast Guard sector Anchorage that both Tandy and Jesse were located and were transported to Air Station Kodiak via helicopter.
Type: Death Investigation
On 4-28-2019 at 1336 hours the Alaska State Troopers responded to a Nikiski residence for a reported death. Investigation revealed Josi Hudson (71 YOA of Nikiski) was pronounced deceased on scene. No foul play is suspected. The body was released to the Funeral Home on scene, Next of kin was on scene.
Type: Promoting Contraband in the First Degree
On 04/27/2019 at approximately 2045 hours, the Alaska State Trooper received a call about a visitor passing suboxone strips to an inmate at Goose Creek Correctional Center. Investigation revealed that Melissa Imboden, age 24 of Palmer, introduced a controlled substance into a correctional facility. Charges are being forwarded at this time.