A man described by residents and police in an Aleutian Islands town as a known drug dealer was turned around at the local airport and run out of town by parents when he arrived from Anchorage Tuesday.
Locals in the East Aleutians Borough community of Sand Point say the incident occurred at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, when a nightly PenAir flight arrived in town from Anchorage with the man on board.
In a caption for a Facebook photo of the confrontation posted by resident Carmen Dushkin, she said the incident personifies opposition by locals to a continuing flow of drugs into their communities.
"Sand Point takes a stand to remove known drug dealers," Dushkin wrote. "Team Sand Point will not let you come into our town and corrupt the youth of tomorrow."
The Sand Point incident follows a tradition dating back to Alaska Native tribes of banishing offenders who disturb the peace as a form of punishment, one adopted by Gold Rush-era residents as a "blue ticket" out of town by the first available means of transportation. In a more recent example of an Alaska community expelling a person suspected of but not charged with a crime, tribal officials banned a suspected bootlegger from the village of Akiak in April.
According to Sand Point Police Department officer Michael Livingston, who witnessed the exchange, police couldn't confirm locals' identification of the man as he was not charged with a crime. The man does have a history in the 1,000-person community, which has seen problems with illegal drugs like cocaine, heroin and meth, as well as abuse of prescription drugs.
"Typically, what happens is a drug dealer flies into Sand Point with, say, 1,000 Percocet (oxycodone pain pills) and he has a runner sell them for 150 bucks apiece," Livingston said. "And within a couple weeks, he's leaving town with about $150,000 cash."
I have actually seen this happen before. The native community will rise up as one and eject a trouble maker or dangerous individual and they will be denied access to their community.
It will sometimes confound law enforcement because rather than turn the person over to the authorities the locals will simply ban him or her. Essentially because they don't trust white man's justice.
Of course in the olden days sometimes trouble makers would be taken out on one way hunting trips. After all, accidents do happen you know.
Don't worry too much about this fellow however, he will always be welcome in Wasilla.