The Sitka Trial Courts ramped back up to speed this spring. A Sitka Grand Jury met several times over the last two months, ultimately indicting five Sitkans on a range of felony charges from drugs to tampering with evidence.
44-year-old Michael Souza was arrested at the Rocky Gutierrez Airport on March 18 after he deplaned flight 67. According to court documents, Sitka Police Officers Jayson Christner and Parker White, after obtaining a search warrant, allegedly found around 8 grams of white powder hidden in a jar of peanut butter. That powder later tested positive for cocaine. Police later found a package mailed through the United States Postal Service to Souza with around 11 grams of cocaine. According to a press release from the department around $24,000 dollars worth of cocaine was recovered in the bust.
On March 30, Souza was indicted on two counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony.
Earlier in the month, two Sitkans were indicted on drug charges involving around $42,000 dollars worth of fentanyl pills. According to a police affidavit, on March 7, Sitka Police obtained a warrant to search a home on Brady Street occupied by 38-year-old Sheena Marie Vaughn and 42-year-old Jenny Lounsbury. Police found around 850 round, blue pills presumed to be fentanyl, and 19 grams of methamphetamine along with other drug paraphernalia.
On March 16, Vaughn and Lounsbury were indicted on one felony count each of misconduct involving a controlled substance in the first degree, for allegedly delivering drugs to a person under 19-years-old. They were also both indicted for one count of misconduct involving a controlled substance in the second degree, a Class A felony, and in the fourth degree, a Class C felony. Lounsbury was indicted for an additional count of misconduct involving a controlled substance in the third degree.
Also in March, a Sitka Grand Jury indicted 40-year-old David Skultka for violating conditions of release for a 2022 DUI arrest, a Class B misdemeanor.
And in February, Sitka’s grand jury only indicted one Sitkan, 45-year-old Sarah Smith, for allegedly interfering with a police investigation. On January 1, police officers pulled over a Sitka driver and began a DUI investigation after spotting a Cook’s champagne bottle and several cans of White Claw on the floor. According to court documents, the driver became combative during the investigation. While officers were attempting to restrain the driver, Smith allegedly approached the driver’s vehicle and attempted to remove the champagne bottle. It was recovered by police in the grass about 15 feet away.
Smith was indicted on count of tampering with evidence, a Class C felony.
Trial dates for all defendants facing felony charges have been scheduled in the coming months.