Additional charges announced against leader, member of Alaska organized drug crime ring


Date: May 29, 2024


Anchorage, AK — A federal grand jury in Alaska returned a superseding indictment adding new charges against the leader and a high-ranking member of a large-scale organized drug crime ring operating in Alaska.

In January, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Alaska announced charges against 53 defendants allegedly connected to the drug trafficking enterprise. Conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine, continuing criminal enterprise, killing in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise, kidnapping conspiracy, kidnapping resulting in death and carjacking resulting in death, were among the original charges against leaders, members and associates of the organization.

According to court documents, Heraclio Sanchez-Rodriguez is allegedly the leader of the transnational organized crime and drug trafficking ring targeting Alaska. Tamara Bren is a high-ranking member known as one of his “wives.” Per the new charges, from August 2022 to September 2023, Bren and Sanchez-Rodriguez allegedly conspired to launder money by directing members of the enterprise to use money transferring services, like wire transfers, mobile applications and money orders, to attempt to launder over $1.3 million in drug proceeds.

Court documents also charge Sanchez-Rodriguez with allegedly altering and falsifying investigative reports by the DEA, FBI, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service, to impede, obstruct and influence the investigation on Dec. 20, 2023.

According to the superseding indictment, law enforcement has seized over 92 kilograms of fentanyl, 26 kilograms of meth, 11 kilograms of heroin and 110 grams of cocaine in connection to this enterprise.

In addition to the original charges, Sanchez-Rodriguez and Bren are charged with one count of money laundering conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1956(h), and Sanchez-Rodriguez is charged with one count of obstruction of justice in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1519.

U.S. Attorney S. Lane Tucker of the District of Alaska, Special Agent in Charge Adam Jobes of the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS CI) Seattle Field Office, Assistant Special Agent in Charge David Zahn of the Drug Enforcement Administration Anchorage District Office, Inspector in Charge Anthony Galetti of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Seattle Division, and Special Agent in Charge Rebecca Day of the FBI Anchorage Field Office made the announcement.

The Drug Enforcement Administration Seattle Division Office and Anchorage District Office, FBI Anchorage Field Office, IRS Criminal Investigation Seattle Field Office, U.S. Postal Inspection Service Seattle Division and Anchorage Domicile, Homeland Security Investigations Anchorage, Alaska Office, Alaska State Troopers, Anchorage Police Department and Palmer Police Department, with significant law enforcement support from the U.S. Marshals Service, are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephan Collins, Christopher Schroeder, Karen Vandergaw and Alana Weber are prosecuting the case.

This investigation and prosecution are part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), which identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multiagency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, obtaining a more than a 90 percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.