Tracked package leads to controlled substance arrest

PETERSBURG – A Grand Jury indicted Eric Jennings, 39, on three of the five counts set before them on Nov. 14.

Jennings was indicted on misconduct involving a controlled substance in the fourth degree, tampering with physical evidence and criminal mischief in the third degree. The two other counts, misconduct involving a controlled substance in the second degree and misconduct involving a controlled substance in the third degree, were withdrawn.

On Nov. 7, Kevin Home, a United States postal inspector, identified a suspicious express mail parcel from California addressed to Jennings care of Petersburg Fisheries, according to the complaint. Home applied for and received a search warrant on Nov. 8 and found approximately three grams of suspected heroin and one ounce of suspected methamphetamine in the package. Both substances were hidden inside tins of hot cocoa mix. A plastic bottle containing a clear odorless liquid, which tested to be gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), was also found in the package.

On Nov. 9 the parcel was outfitted with a device to alert law enforcement of its status, clue spray only visible with a black light was placed inside and representative samples of all three controlled substances were also placed inside according to the complaint. The package was then delivered to the address and a surveillance team waited near the delivery location. Law enforcement officers observed Jennings retrieve the package at Petersburg Fisheries and transport it back to a boat in South Boat Harbor. Minutes later, the device inside the package

indicated that it had been opened.

Officers made contact with Jennings and two other men aboard the vessel, according to the complaint. Jennings was the only person present who had clue spray on his hands. The contents of the package were on the boat, but the box itself was floating in the harbor. According to complaint, Jennings made spontaneous utterances that he picked up the box and opened it. The other two men, who could not be identified, were interviewed and stated they knew the parcel had drugs in it and that they were expecting to receive some from Jennings.

According to Jared Popp, Southeast Cities Against Drugs Task Force officer with the Petersburg Police Department, the Juneau Police Department followed through with the case and ultimately made the arrest. Because the package came through Juneau, their police department picked up the case. Popp said he only provided logistic support to the JPD who did all the "legwork."

"We're part of the Southeast Drug Task Force, so they're not just focused on Juneau," said Popp. "They're focused on all of Southeast."


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