Nikiski residents arrested in Moose Pass drug bust

The arrests happened after a traffic stop

Alaska State Troopers logo.

Alaska State Troopers logo.

Two Nikiski residents were arrested Friday in Moose Pass after Alaska State Troopers found fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamines and drug paraphernalia inside a vehicle during a traffic stop, according to charging documents.

Stacie Maldonado, 44, and Antwane Abron, 50, are facing multiple charges in connection with the traffic stop, which occurred just after 10 p.m. Friday.

Trooper Joshua Yavorsky wrote in a Nov. 5 affidavit accompanying charging documents that he conducted a traffic stop at around 10:10 p.m. after he saw a speeding vehicle that didn’t have illuminated tail lights.

Abron, who was driving, was unable to provide a form of identification and told Yavorsky that his driver’s license had been canceled, the affidavit said. Maldonado, who was in the passenger seat, reportedly said the vehicle belonged to her, but that it was not yet insured and that she did not have a copy of the registration.

Yavorsky wrote that he “recognized” Abron after Abron supplied his name and date of birth in lieu of other IDs, and that another trooper said Abron was a suspect for transporting controlled substances.

Abron told Yavorsky that he and Maldonado had traveled to Seward to help Maldanado’s dad, however, Abron could not provide an address for the residence in Seward or his own address in Nikiski, according to court documents. Abron said he and Maldanado considered getting a hotel room for the night, but that Maldonado had appointments at her hair salon for the following day, according to the trooper’s affidavit.

“I had the impression that Abron was trying very hard to convince me that he was traveling for legitimate reasons,” Yavorsky said in the affidavit.

Abron gave Yavorsky permission to search his person, Yavorsky said in the affidavit. That search, Yavorsky wrote, revealed two “partially burnt” M30 Fentanyl pills on a piece of tin foil and .19 ounces of methamphetamine. Abron was placed under arrest for misconduct involving controlled substances.

Yavorsky said in the affidavit that he then went to search the vehicle and Maldonado argued with him and told him to get a warrant. As Maldonado took her bags out of the car, Yavorsky said he saw a zip-lock bag “filled with huge wads of cash inside.” Maldonado was then detained and Yavorsky said everything was to be left in the vehicle pending application of a search warrant.

A warrant was granted, Yavorksy wrote, that allowed law enforcement to search the vehicle and “all containers” for controlled substances, things commonly used in the possession and distribution of controlled substances and currency.

That search allegedly revealed 158 blue M30 Fentanyl pills, 0.74 ounces of methamphetamine, 4.22 ounces of black tar heroin, a stolen Cold Gold Cup Trophy .45 caliber handgun, $9,132 in U.S. currency, two cellphones, UPS receipts and a digital pocket scale. Both denied knowing about the firearm and Maldonado denied knowing “anything about the drugs,” the court documents said.

Abron, Yavorsky wrote, called to him from the back of the vehicle. After reading Abron his Miranda rights, Yavorsky wrote, Abron said there were about 2 ounces of heroin and 170 to 180 blue M30 Fentanyl pills in Maldonado’s bag. Abron said he stowed the drugs there after they were pulled over and that Maldonado didn’t know. When Yavorsky asked Abron which bag the drugs were in, however, Abron looked to Maldonado, who told him they were in a backpack.

Abron reportedly said he previously had 250 blue M30 Fentanyl pills, which he got about eight days prior to being pulled over, but that he used about 70 of them. Yavorsky said a later review of his video footage showed Abron and Maldonado discussing the statement Abron gave to Yavorsky.

Both Maldonado and Abron are charged with two counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance in the second degree, one count of misconduct involving a weapons in the second degree, one count of theft in the second degree, one count of misconduct involving weapons in the third degree and one count of misconduct involving a controlled substance in the third degree.

Alaska Statute says that a person commits the offense of misconduct involving a controlled substance in the second degree when they manufacture or deliver any amount of a schedule IA controlled substance or possess any amount of a schedule IA controlled substance with the intent to manufacture or deliver. Heroin and fentanyl are schedule IA controlled substances.

Abron is also being charged with operating a vehicle without insurance, and received citations for driving with a canceled license, driving without taillights, speeding and driving with no certificate of registration.

Both Maldonado and Abron were taken to the Seward City Jail.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy in May issued a community alert warning Alaskans about the relationship between fentanyl and fatal drug overdoses, which surged by 71% between 2020 and 2021. The Alaska Department of Health, formerly part of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, announced earlier this year a “sharp increase” in overdose deaths in 2021, which it attributed to a rise in fentanyl use.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says is between 80 and 100 times stronger than morphine and is approved for treatment of severe pain. Fentanyl that is illegally made, however, is what’s linked to “most” recent cases of fentanyl harm, overdose and death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A health warning created by the Alaska Department of Health in August 2022 says that M30 Fentanyl pills are usually blue, but can also be white. Blue M30 pills are usually stamped to look like real oxycodone pills that would be dispensed by a pharmacist, the flier says. Fentanyl may also come in a rainbow-colored form such as pills that look like candy.

Naloxone, a medication that may reverse an opioid or heroin overdose, comes in the form of a nasal spray and is available for free at multiple locations on the Kenai Peninsula. According to the Alaska Department of Health, organizations on the central Kenai Peninsula that provide naloxone free of charge as part of Project HOPE include Kenai Public Health, Cook Inlet Counseling, Central Peninsula Hospital, Peninsula Community Health Services and the Soldotna Police Department.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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