Bishop pleas in sizeable Naknek heroin case

Aug 11, 2016

Jorden Bishop, 29, from Palmer, pleaded guilty to possession of 22 grams of heroin police seized at the King Salmon Airport in June 2015. Will get two year sentence.

KDLG:  On Wednesday Jorden Bishop, 29, from Palmer pleaded guilty in a case involving a large amount of heroin seized last year in Bristol Bay. As per the plea deal, the prosecutor recommended a flat jail sentence of two years.

Jorden Bishop of Palmer was caught in possession of 22 grams of heroin, plus other narcotics, at the King Salmon Airport just ahead of the 2015 fishing season. He pleaded guilty to possession and will serve two years in jail.
Credit BBBPD

Bishop was arrested in June 2015 after 22 grams of heroin, and other narcotics were discovered at the King Salmon Airport. While the police originally measured the amount at 38 grams, the state prosecutor for the case, Javier Diaz, said it was later lowered.

“Sometimes when the police departments weigh it, they weigh the packaging that it’s in," Diaz said Thursday. "But we sent the drugs to the crime lab to confirm that it was indeed heroin. They just weigh the actual drugs. The lab report came back at just under 22 grams of heroin.”

Still, Bishop’s case appears to be the largest narcotics seizure reported by authorities in Bristol Bay in 2015. 

The drugs were found by an airport employee after Bishop asked to claim a sunglasses case that had been left in the terminal. The employee noticed what was inside and called authorities.

Bishop was only charged with possession of the heroin, not the higher count of intent to distribute. That would have carried a stiffer penalty, but Diaz said beyond the quantity of the heroin, evidence that he was going to sell it wasn’t there.

“Anytime we have distribution cases like this, we look for things like how drugs are packaged. We look for any cash, we look for a lack of drug paraphernalia, we look through cell phones for any messages indicating drug dealing, we look for scales. At the end of the day, we really couldn’t find much evidence of distribution," said Diaz.

Bishop was represented by the Public Defenders Agency. He agreed to plead guilty in return for a flat two year sentence, which will be imposed at a hearing next month.

Also on Wednesday, Adrian Mark of Dillingham was sentenced to six years in jail, with three suspended, and five years of probation for selling heroin twice to a Dillingham Police confidential informant in 2015.

Mark pleaded guilty to a consolidated charge earlier this summer, and Judge Pat Douglass accepted the agreed upon sentence.

Mark’s attorney, Chris Lesch from the public defender’s agency, called for some perspective for his client, saying he had sold a small amount of drugs and had done so to support his own use.

“You know this came about when there was a lot of [media] coverage regarding controlled substances in this area," Lesch told the judge. "I think Mr. Mark was painted with kind of a broad brush. He’s taking responsibility, and obviously he did participate some activity involving heroin but it was a small amount."

Mark has a little less than two years left to serve. Had the prosecutor not agreed to the deal, the 27-year-old would have faced closer to a decade behind bars on account of a prior felony conviction.

Reach the author at dave@kdlg.org or 907-842-5281.