Grunwald murderer, 12 others charged with smuggling drugs into Alaska prisons

Goose Creek Prison. Photo by Ellen Lockyer, KSKA - Anchorage.
Goose Creek Correctional Center (Ellen Lockyer/KSKA)

More than a dozen Alaska inmates and visitors, including one of the four young men convicted of murdering a Palmer teen in 2016, are accused of smuggling various drugs into three correctional institutions.

Dominic Johnson, 23, is among the 11 inmates and two visitors indicted by a Palmer grand jury last month, according to the Alaska Department of Law. Johnson is serving 99 years for the death of 16-year-old David Grunwald.

Department of Law spokeswoman Patty Sullivan said most of the cases are unrelated. Limited details on the cases were available because they were charged in a confidential grand jury hearing, she said.

According to a partial set of indictments against the suspects, facilities targeted in the smuggling attempts include Goose Creek Correctional Center near Wasilla, Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward, as well as the Wildwood Correctional Complex in Kenai.

Six of the suspects associated with smuggling at Goose Creek – Johnson and inmates Brian Garrett Pinckley, 32, Steve LaPitre, 43, and Orion Seal, 40, along with visitors Deborah Carlson-Johnson, 64, and Khanesia Allen, 50 – allegedly tried to bring in buprenorphine, a prescription drug typically used to treat opioid addiction. Inmate Robert James Alvin Wilde, 39, is accused of trying to smuggle methamphetamine.

Spring Creek inmate Shayne Henry Anselm, 29, and co-defendant inmate John Kyle Walls, 42, as well as Wildwood inmate Troy Lyle Smith, 41, are accused of trying to smuggle in fentanyl. Smith recently received an eight-year sentence in September for strangling a partner in a 2021 domestic-violence assault.

All 13 defendants are charged with first-degree promoting contraband, a felony crime that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Last month, prosecutors charged four people with attempting to smuggle drugs into Bethel’s Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center by throwing bags over the facility’s fence. That case came soon after October charges against 10 people in an Alaska drug trafficking ring, allegedly led by an inmate at Anchorage’s Hiland Mountain Correctional Center.

Chris Klint is a web producer and breaking news reporter at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at Read more about Chris here.

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