Soldotna man arraigned following Spice bust

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that William Dooley was present at Tobacco Distress in October when Alaska State Troopers originally investigated it, not in December when around 6,000 packets of Spice were seized. 

 

A Soldotna man has been arraigned and his bail has been set after local tobacco shop was busted for selling synthetic marijuana, or Spice, containing illegal components.

William Dooley, 27, was an employee at Tobacco Distress, a local shop where members of the Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit — under the Alaska State Troopers — seized more than 6,000 packets of the drug last month. He was arraigned in Kenai Superior Court on Tuesday. According to Courtview, Dooley faces 30 charges, including third and fourth-degree misconduct involved a controlled substance, misconduct involving a weapon in the second degree and resisting arrest.

According to Courtview, the charges stem from a preliminary investigation the Drug Enforcement Unit conducted in October, during which they found 146 out of 518 packets of suspected Spice from the shop tested positive for illegal components. Kenai Superior Court Judge Anna Moran also noted during the hearing that misdemeanors are being added to the case.

Dooley’s defense attorney, William Walton, entered not-guilty pleas for all counts on Dooley’s behalf. His bail was set at a $2,500 cash performance bond. Terms of his bail also require that he not possess any drugs or drug paraphernalia.

“My client’s just a part-time employee there — or was,” Walton said during the hearing.

He went on to say Dooley has submitted his notice to the tobacco shop in the wake of the case.

According to a trooper affidavit written about the drug bust, Dooley told investigators on the day they visited Tobacco Distress in October that he was under the impression the strands of Spice in the store were legal.

“Dooley provided Investigator Russell with a packet of paper that indicated these smoke blends were legal,” Investigator Levi Russell with the troopers wrote in the affidavit.

Dooley’s next court date is set for Feb. 22.

For both Tobacco Distress owner Phillip Kneeland and his wife, Loren Kneeland, each of their $5,000 cash performance bonds were posted on Jan. 4, according to Courtview. Their next court dates are set for Jan. 19, when they will be arraigned in Superior Court.

 

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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