Trooper 75th Anniversary
AST > PIO > Press Releases > Home

Press Releases

Alaska State Troopers Conduct Prostitution Sting

January 24, 2022 (Anchorage, AK)— The Alaska State Troopers Special Crimes Investigation Unit (SCIU) conducted multiple prostitution patron stings in Fairbanks and Anchorage in January 2022 resulting in charges against 22 men that attempted to solicit sex. Troopers posed as women soliciting sex for money during the operation and contacted the men when they arrived at various locations in each community.

Alaska law prohibits payment for sexual conduct under AS 11.66.100(a)(2). All 22 men contacted during the operation were charged with the Class B Misdemeanor of Prostitution.

“Prostitution is not a victimless crime, and is often financially intertwined with sex trafficking, drug trafficking, violent crimes, and sexual assault,” said Colonel Bryan Barlow, Director of the Alaska State Troopers. “Your Alaska State Troopers are committed to investigating and working with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable anyone who victimizes Alaskans. The Alaska State Troopers are planning additional operations in the future to help reduce demand for these illicit services across the state.”

During the Fairbanks operation nine men were contacted and ultimately charged.

  • Joseph Blanchard, 36, of Fairbanks
  • Scott Dayton, 24, of Fairbanks
  • Colton Joe, 25, of Northway
  • Adam Qualley, 37, of North Pole
  • Joshua Reed, 35, of Fairbanks
  • Matthew Richards, 25, of North Pole
  • William Simmons, 58, of Fairbanks
  • Jonathan Sims, 32, of Fort Wainwright
  • Gary Tomaszewski, 55, of Fairbanks

During the Anchorage operation 13 men were contacted and ultimately charged.

  • Scott Bailey, 78, of Eagle River
  • Kenneth Carroll, 58, of Anchorage
  • Abed Fede, 40, of Anchorage
  • Giovanni Garassino, 43, of Anchorage
  • Ardijan Kabakchi, 24, of Anchorage
  • Carl Kuznicki, 32, of Anchorage
  • Ryan Morse, 34, of Fairbanks
  • Ronny Randall, 51, of Wasilla
  • Lynn Reitz, 62, of Anchorage
  • Sanh Saechao, 38, of Anchorage
  • Dakota Seibert, 24, of Anchorage
  • Kenneth Sontag, 71, of Big Lake
  • Nicholas Tabaczka, 41, of Anchorage

If you or someone you know is a victim of sex trafficking, you can find help and resources by calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888. Or text ‘HELP’ to 233733.

The Alaska State Troopers are constantly seeking tips and information that will aid our investigations into sex trafficking and other illegal activities around Alaska. Alaskans can submit an anonymous crime tip to the Alaska State Troopers with the AKTips smartphone app, by texting ‘AKTIPS’ followed by your tip to 847411, or online at https://dps.alaska.gov/Tips.

PDF Version of Release

Read More

DPS Welcomes Back Joel Hard

January 12, 2022 (Anchorage, AK)— The Alaska Department of Public Safety has hired former Alaska Wildlife Trooper Colonel Joel Hard as the new Director of Village Public Safety Officer Operations for the Alaska Department of Public Safety. The newly created Director of Village Public Safety Officer Operations will work out of the Commissioner’s Office with VPSO grantees to strengthen and revitalize the VPSO program.

“Joel brings a wealth of experience to this new position; as a 22-year veteran of the Alaska State Troopers, he knows firsthand the vital role that VPSOs play throughout rural Alaska,” said Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell. “Revitalizing the VPSO program is a key priority of the Governor and DPS leadership. Joel has the proven leadership, management, and law enforcement experience to help us hire a VPSO for every community that wants one.”

Joel Hard retired as the Colonel of the Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection, now known as the Alaska Wildlife Troopers, in 2003. Prior to serving as Colonel, Joel worked in both urban and rural Alaska in various assignments, including patrol, investigations, drug interdiction and enforcement, and command. After retiring, Joel worked for the National Park Service and most recently served as the Alaska Region Deputy Regional Director.

“I’m excited to return to the Department of Public Safety and support Commissioner Cockrell’s commitment to strengthen the VPSO program. VPSOs serve a critical public safety function in Alaska’s remote communities by acting as a first responder to medical, fire, search and rescue, and law enforcement incidents in the community that they live and work in,” said VPSO Operations Director Joel Hard. “I look forward to working with the grantees and along with the Division of Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers to reimagine this program in ways that improve its presence and performance in rural Alaska and elevate its importance within the Department.”

Joel’s first day was January 10, 2022, his position will be based out of DPS Headquarters in Anchorage.

 

Read More

Homicide Victim Found on Fire Island in 1989 Identified by DNA Analysis and Genetic Genealogy

December 1, 2021 (Anchorage, AK) – On July 24th, 1989, human remains were found on the northwest shore of Fire Island, west of Anchorage.  Investigators from the Alaska State Troopers (AST) responded to the scene and collected the remains.  An autopsy concluded that the victim was a Caucasian male, estimated to be 35 to 50 years of age.  Evidence was found on the remains that indicated the death was criminal in nature.  An anthropologist estimated that the remains had been lying exposed on the beach for at least a year, but an approximate date of death could not be accurately determined.  All efforts by AST to identify the victim were unsuccessful. The victim’s remains were eventually interned at the Anchorage Municipal Cemetery. 

In 2003, hair and tissue samples that had been collected at autopsy were sent to the FBI Laboratory in Virginia.  A mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) profile was developed.  The profile was entered into the national missing persons database, but no identification was made.    

In 2021, the Alaska Bureau of Investigation (ABI) Cold Case Investigation Unit reopened the investigation.  Bone samples from the victim that had been retained by the State Medical Examiner’s Office were sent to Othram Inc., a private forensic DNA laboratory in Woodlands TX.  Scientists at Othram were able to extract DNA from the bone samples. They used forensic-grade genome sequencing to develop a comprehensive DNA profile.  The profile was uploaded into a genealogy database. The profile was linked to other persons in the database, some of whom had ties to Alaska.  Subsequent genealogy research by Othram and AST indicate that the victim may be Michael Allison Beavers.

Michael Beavers had been reported missing to the Anchorage Police Department in January 1980, by his spouse.  He was last seen alive in late November 1979, at age 40, when he left his residence in Chugiak to travel by automobile to Seattle, WA to contact a business associate there.  Beavers was a heavy equipment operator, and he owned an excavation business in Chugiak. Beavers never arrived in Seattle.  No information was developed to indicated what had become of Beavers and the investigation was closed in 1982.  In 1992, Beavers was officially declared deceased.

Investigators with the AST Alaska Bureau of Investigation (ABI) located a close blood relative of Beavers’ and obtained a DNA sample.  Subsequent DNA analysis confirmed that the remains found on Fire Island were in fact those of Michael Beavers.  The investigation into this incident is on-going.  If anyone has any information regarding Beavers’ disappearance and murder, please contact the ABI Cold Case Investigation Unit at (907) 375-7728 or the main ABI number at (907) 269-5611. 
  
PDF Version with Photo Read More

=