Alaska inmate led drug and money laundering conspiracy from behind bars, prosecutors say

Inmates at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in 2018. (Will Mader/KTOO)

Federal authorities have arrested a group of alleged drug traffickers in Alaska, including a woman already in prison who was its supposed ringleader.

Christina Reyna Quintana, 38, led a group of nine others that brought at least 12 kilograms of the powerful opioid fentanyl to Alaska between February 2022 and July 2023, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday. Some members of the conspiracy are also charged with laundering drug money and sending it via wire transfer to an unknown individual in Mexico, the indictment says.

Charged along with Quintana are Angela Marie Jasper, 39, Amber Young, 28, Rochelle Monique Wood, 37, James Anthony Schwarz, 41, Elroy Daniel Bouchard, 58, Khamthene Thongdy, 45, Colleen McDaniel, 68, Tamberlyn Solomon, 25, and Lois Jean Frank, 63. Two were arrested in Tennessee and seven in Alaska, including Wood who was also already jailed.

Federal prosecutors say Quintana had been operating as the group’s leader from behind bars at Alaska’s women’s prison, Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in Eagle River. That was after she pleaded guilty to leading a group that smuggled methamphetamine and heroin to Sitka, where she shot someone in the legs over a drug debt in 2018, according to court documents in that case.

A grand jury indicted the group in the more recent case Oct. 18, and court records show they had all been arrested by Oct. 26, when a judge ordered the indictment unsealed.

Casey Grove is host of Alaska News Nightly, a general assignment reporter and an editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at Read more about Casey here

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