Alaska women kidnapped near Trapper Creek were killed in connection with drug conspiracy, indictment says

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A sign outside the federal building in downtown Anchorage (Julia O’Malley/Alaska Public Media)

Two Alaska women found murdered near Trapper Creek this summer were killed by drug traffickers whose leader was an inmate at a California prison, federal and state law enforcement say.

Charged in an indictment unsealed Friday are Heraclio Sanchez-Rodriguez, 56, Tamara Denise Bren, 41, and Kevin Glenn Peterson II, 29. They face charges including kidnapping, carjacking and murder, as well as for allegedly distributing 33 kilograms of fentanyl, 11 kilograms of meth, four kilograms of heroin and 57 grams of cocaine.

The three conspired to carry out the execution-style killings of Fairbanks resident Sunday Powers, 30, and Anchorage resident Kami Clark, 34, in May, according to the indictment, which did not explain how the two women were connected to the drug traffickers.

Federal prosecutors also declined to comment on any connection.

The indictment says Sanchez-Rodriguez – while incarcerated at Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad, California – used cell phones that had been smuggled into prison to communicate with drug suppliers, including family members, in Mexico and co-conspirators in California and Oregon who shipped drugs to Alaska.

The drugs were headed to communities across the state, from Sitka and Ketchikan in Southeast, to Fairbanks in the Interior and even the villages of Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea and New Stuyahok in southwest Alaska, the indictment says.

According to the indictment, U.S. Postal Service officials seized some of the shipments between March 2022 and June 2023.

Clark and Powers were murdered May 22, 2023.

Sanchez-Rodriguez coordinated with Bren and Peterson by phone and text message to carry out the killings and used apps to track Clark and Powers. They kidnapped and later fatally shot the women near Trapper Creek before burying each in a shallow grave, the indictment says.

According to the indictment, Bren was an Alaska resident who had originally been recruited into the drug conspiracy while incarcerated at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in Eagle River. When she was out, the indictment says, she “rose in the ranks” from being someone who received drug shipments in Alaska to being a higher-ranking member of the group.

The indictment describes Peterson, also an Alaska resident, as an “enforcer” who distributed drugs in Anchorage.

Sanchez-Rodriguez and Bren were also indicted in June in a separate drug trafficking case connecting them to inmates at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center, one of whom allegedly directed the distribution of fentanyl in Alaska while she was jailed.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alaska declined to comment on either case.

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

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