Nome man arrested after police, troopers find $22k stash of heroin, meth

An Alaska State Trooper cruiser parked on Nome’s Front Street in January 2015. Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM file.
An Alaska State Trooper cruiser parked on Nome’s Front Street in January 2015. Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM file.

More than $20,000 in heroin and methamphetamine have been taken off the streets after the arrest of a Nome man in a significant drug bust by Alaska State Troopers and the Nome Police Department.

Galen Milligrock, 38, was arrested Wednesday, Aug. 5, on multiple felony drug charges.

Court documents reveal an investigation going back to mid June, when police and troopers first contacted Milligrock through what Nome Police Chief John Papasodora called “undercover purchases” of drugs, including heroin. Arresting documents state Milligrock “handed [police] a vial” containing a small amount of meth, leading investigators to follow up with a search warrant for his East 5th Avenue home.

In the search, police and Troopers say they found five vials of heroin and “a small bag” of crystal meth. Court records, however, show Milligrock wasn’t arrested after the June search of his home—but that wasn’t the end of the investigation, which eventually led to what police and troopers say was Milligrock’s “drug stash” found “off of an ATV trail within the city limits of Nome.”

An affidavit from a Nome police officer states the stash held more than 21 grams of heroin, with each gram “packaged for sale.” The stash also held a clear glass vial filled with 1.2 grams of meth, or roughly five doses on the street.

Chief Papasodora in an email wrote in a Thursday email the 21 grams of heroin could be sold on the street as more more than 200 individual doses of the drug.

“It’s a lot, and especially a lot for a community the size of Nome,” said Captain Jeff Laughlin, the commander of the Trooper’s Statewide Drug Enforcement unit.

“If you associate a gram, you know kind of the size of a sugar packet, right? So, the last pricing I got that’s pretty accurate for western Alaska is, generally a gram [of heroin] is going for about $1,000. So, approximately $22,000 worth for [approximately] 22 grams.”

Investigators interviewing Milligrock wrote in papers submitted to the court that he admitted the drugs belonged to him, and allege Milligrock confessed to officers that “he sells heroin in Nome.”

In all he faces seven felony counts for misuse of a controlled substance, including two second-degree charges.

In his first court appearance Thursday, to formally hear the charges against him, Milligrock requested a court-appointed attorney and pleaded not guilty to all charges. Bail was set at $15,000 dollars. Milligrock remains in custody at Nome’s Anvil Mountain Correctional Center.

The Nome Police K9 unit with K9 “Icon” was cited by Chief Papasodora as “an instrumental part in the seizure.” Nome’s only K9 officer died unexpectedly last month while undergoing emergency surgery. Chief Papasodora didn’t provide specifics of the K9 unit’s involvement in Milligrock’s but wrote simply that “we will really miss Icon.”

Milligrock’s criminal history includes three separate felony convictions in 1996 on felony burglary, theft, and criminal mischief charges in Nome, and one felony conviction for escape in Anchorage.

His arrest is the latest in an ongoing collaboration between Troopers and Nome police that’s resulted in the heroin-related arrest of two Nome residents in December, a second couple arrested in January for allegedly selling meth, the indictment ofa fifth person in February on 11 drug charges related to heroin and meth, and most recently, a trio of arrests in March that saw three men arrested on a combined 22 felony drug charges related to selling heroin, prescription pills, marijuana and other narcotics.

Matthew Smith is a reporter at KNOM in Nome.

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