The Sitka Grand Jury indicted two men this spring on a variety of weapons and drug charges.
One defendant remains in custody pending $125,000 bail.
The Grand Jury indicted 44-year old William Scott Noel on April 14 on three counts of Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance, and three counts of Misconduct Involving Weapons.
According to court records, Sitka police were summoned to the Rocky Gutierrez Airport on March 18 by Transportation Security Administration officers and shown luggage allegedly belonging to Noel that contained an undeclared Springfield Armory 1911 pistol. The firearm was disassembled down to the main components and packed in a hard-sided storage tote. A bag inside the tote contained seven loose .45 caliber rounds.
Police checked Noel’s criminal history and discovered he had been arrested and convicted on felony charges by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in Anchorage in 2007.
Noel flew from Sitka, but returned on April 6, when he was met by Sitka police officers at the Super 8 Motel, and arrested for knowingly possessing a concealable firearm after having been convicted of a felony. During the arrest, officers observed assorted alleged drug paraphernalia, including a scale, cotton swabs, and a number of “dime bags.” Officers obtained a search warrant and subsequently seized the paraphernalia, along with a Springfield .45 caliber handgun, and $1,600 in cash. Field testing of the substances in the dime bags was presumptively positive for methamphetamine and heroin. A search of Noel’s box trailer and car parked in the Super 8 lot produced a Mossberg AR-15 assault-style weapon, and several dime bags containing apparent drug residue.
Noel is currently being held at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center in Juneau. His trial has been scheduled for the week of July 5 in Sitka Superior Court.
The Sitka Grand Jury indicted a second defendant this spring, also on firearms charges. 26-year old Alex Michael Ireland was indicted on April 14 on one count of Misconduct Involving Weapons, for allegedly being in possession of a concealable weapon after having been convicted of a felony.
Ireland is also facing a number of lesser charges related to wildlife violations.
According to court records, Ireland first came to the attention of law enforcement when he called the Sitka Police Department in December, 2021, to inquire about selling game meat.
A records check by Alaska Wildlife Troopers indicated that Ireland had obtained resident hunting and fishing licenses in November and December of 2021, after claiming Alaska residency beginning the previous year, in July of 2020.
On further investigation, Troopers learned that Ireland had been arrested twice in Alabama in early 2021 on felony drug possession, and incarcerated for short periods both times. Troopers claim that Ireland’s social media posts and information from his first employer indicate that he arrived in Sitka in June of 2021.
When interviewed by Troopers about these discrepancies, Ireland allegedly admitted to making false statements to obtain a resident hunting license in order to save money. He also is alleged to have admitted to taking two deer in Katlian Bay and Nakwasina Sound without purchasing the appropriate non-resident tags.
Ireland’s felony charge stems from a social media post he made in October, 2021, which allegedly shows a video of him standing in the middle of Blue Lake Road firing a 9mm Glock pistol with an extended magazine into an embankment. Ireland allegedly told officers that he had another person buy the pistol for him at Orion Sporting Goods in the fall of 2021, as he was unable to do so as a convicted felon.
Police obtained a search warrant for Ireland’s residence aboard a fishing vessel, and allegedly found the pistol hidden in the defendant’s bunk.
Based on the social media post, Troopers also cited Ireland for discharging a firearm on a highway.
Ireland was arrested and released on $1,500 bail. He’s scheduled to face trial in Sitka Superior Court on the felony count in October of this year.