Man charged with importing drugs to sell in Petersburg

Police arrested one man in Petersburg’s South Harbor this week and are charging him with possession of illegal drugs with the intent to sell to others.

Eric Jennings (Photo courtesy of the Petersburg Police Department)

According to a criminal complaint filed in court, 39-year-old Eric Nash Jennings was arrested on a houseboat Saturday after allegedly retrieving a package mailed to him from California. The package was addressed to Jennings at the post office box for Petersburg Fisheries, according to the court filing.

The charging document says a postal inspector obtained a search warrant and opened the package November 8. Inside were three grams of heroin, and one ounce of methamphetamine hidden in tins of hot cocoa mix. Both field tested positive for the illegal substances. The inspector also found a clear, odorless liquid which tested positive for a depressant called G-H-B, commonly called the date-rape drug because it can be used to incapacitate victims.

Authorities replaced portions of the drugs, sprayed the contents with a substance visible only under black light along with a device that they could track and sent it on to Petersburg.

Police officers allege Jennings retrieved the box from Petersburg Fisheries and took it to a house boat in South Harbor. Police say the box was opened on that boat and dumped overboard. They say the contents of the box were still onboard the boat and Jennings was the only person with the invisible spray on him. Two other men were on the boat and told police they were expecting to receive some of the drugs from Jennings. The Southeast Alaska Cities Against Drugs (SEACAD) task force, Juneau police, Alaska State Troopers and FBI were also involved with the case according to the Petersburg Police Department.

Jennings is facing three counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance, which are class A, B and C felonies. He had a public defender appointed for him during a first court appearance this week. That attorney, Jay Hochberg wrote in an email that he doesn’t yet know the facts of the case but he urges people not to pre-judge anyone and to remember “that we are innocent unless and until we are proven guilty.”

Bail for Jennings was set at $15,000. He has another court appearance scheduled for November 20th and his attorney has asked to have him transferred to a jail in Ketchikan or Juneau instead of being held in Petersburg.

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Joe Viechnicki is a reporter at KFSK in Petersburg.