Meth, heroin intercepted in King Salmon Tuesday

Mar 10, 2016

Alleged traffickers Alex W. Savo, 24, originally of Naknek, and Taylor K. Lack, 20, of Wasilla, in jail on several felony drug charges.

Cooperating law enforcement agencies intercepted meth and heroin flown into King Salmon from Anchorage Tuesday evening. Alex Walter Savo, 24, originally of Naknek, and Taylor K. Lack, 20, from Wasilla were arrested and each charged with several felony drug crimes. KDLG’s Dave Bendinger has more:

Transcript: Authorities say they have had their eye on Alex Savo for a while, suspecting he has been trafficking drugs into the Bristol Bay borough from Anchorage. In fact, they noted several trips he made from Anchorage to King Salmon in February, purchasing his tickets last minute with cash, which is a red flag for narcotics investigators.  

Then, just about the time Savo’s probation officer asked troopers to locate him for a urinalysis, Savo started missing the flights he was ticketed for. But on Tuesday evening, he and 20-year-old Taylor Lack boarded in Anchorage on a flight bound for King Salmon. A state trooper and a Bristol Bay Borough police officer were waiting when the two stepped off the plane.  

Identifying himself to Lack, trooper Alfred Borrego said he noticed she grew immediately nervous. He asked her if she had anything in her possession he should be aware of.

"I observed the female to swallow hard and cringe her neck and noted she hesitated several seconds before replying 'no'," Borrego wrote. 

Suspecting she was likely the "mule" and might be in possession of narcotics, Borrego pressed the question again. 

"At this point the female opened her purse wherein I immediately observed a handgun, a .45 caliber Taurus brand semi-auto pistol," said Borrego in his report. She agreed to go to the police department for further questioning. 

There, Borrego turned up a "very valuable" amount of heroin and meth he believes was meant for distribution, plus other paraphernalia consistent with personal use. He would not say exactly how much of either narcotic was found, nor estimate its street value. 

Authorities said Savo's urinalysis tested positive for meth, and substance on his pocket knife tested positive for heroin.

Neither Savo nor Lack has extensive criminal records. Savo was charged with drug possession in 2014, a case which was dismissed. In 2013, he pleaded guilty to felony tampering with evidence in a 2012 case where he admitted to shooting through someone's door. Since turning 18, Lack has been charged with minor crimes of shoplifting, fleeing police, and driving on a revoked license, and just served time at Highland Women's Correctional Facility.

Troopers believe Savo asked Lack to mule the drugs in, and also believe this is not the first time the pair had done so. Both were arraigned on several felony drug charges Wednesday, and were ordered held on $5000 bail each.

State troopers in Anchorage and King Salmon, the Bristol Bay Borough Police Dept., and even the Department of Corrections coordinated on this bust. Citing an on-going investigation, trooper Alfred Borrrego in King Salmon declined to discuss specifics, but did say information from the public can lead to these interdictions.

“The people are extremely sick and tired of the influence of drugs," he said Thursday morning. "There are a lot of good people who live in these communities that don’t deserve these kind of problems. So in order to stop some of it, a lot of these people have come forward, talked to us, and let us know that these people are the ones using and abusing and bringing this stuff in.”

Bristol Bay no longer has a dedicated state drug investigator living in the region, but troopers and local police coordinate closely with WAANT officers in Anchorage. Borrego did not want to discuss the methods used to track Savo’s movements in Anchorage and specifically at the airport. But he did come back to the idea that the toll meth and heroin are taking on the lives of Bristol Bay residents has led to a noticeable increase in useful tips.

“These people have finally had their stomachs full of it," he said. "We’ve had deaths as a result, both as homicide, and deaths by overdose. Families are torn up, we have people coming into our office crying, with tears in their eyes because their loved ones are dead. Frankly if we can step on this, we’re going to do it, and this is just a small part of that."

Reach the author at dave@kdlg.org.