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1/8/2020
Hill case dismissed in Ketchikan court: Local meth bust goes federal

By SAM ALLEN 
Daily News Staff Writer

A criminal case surrounding a Washington resident arrested in Ketchikan, and who, according to initial police documents, allegedly had access to nearly 3.7 pounds of meth and about 1.8 pounds of heroin, was dismissed Tuesday in Ketchikan Superior Court.

At the scheduled omnibus hearing for Spencer Dolph Hill, 22, Ketchikan District Attorney Timothy McGillicuddy said a federal indictment had been submitted, and so he moved to dismiss the case.

After the hearing, McGillicuddy said he expected the case to be taken on by federal prosecutors because Hill's case deals with large amounts of illicit drugs being transported over state lines.

After Hill's arrest, and the subsequent discovery of additional illicit substances in a bank safety deposit box, Ketchikan Police Department Lt. Andy Berntson said it was the biggest drug seizure he's seen in his more than 18 years with KPD.

At the end of November, following the incidents, Berntson said no co-conspirator charges were being brought forward. With the case being assumed by federal prosecutors, that could change. However, according to a federal online database, no related indictment has been filed.

Hill has been held at the Ketchikan Correctional Center since his arrest in early November on a $100,000 bail.

Hill soon will be brought to Juneau for an arraignment in federal court, according to Chloe Hall, a spokesperson for Alaska's U.S. Attorney's Office.

The matter of Hill's custody will be discussed at the hearing, which has yet to be scheduled, according to Hall.

KPD arrested Hill on Nov. 5 after allegedly finding nearly a half pound of methamphetamine in a downtown Ketchikan hotel room that Hill was checking out of. Police allegedly found a used syringe and signs of meth and heroin use in the room.

Hill returned to the room to retrieve a forgotten set of keys and was searched, arrested and a warrant was secured for the new room he was renting on Bayview Street. According to the police report, heroin was found on Hill, and a 9 mm handgun was found in the vehicle he was using outside of the hotel.

From his room on Bayview Street, officers allegedly recovered approximately 218.8 grams of meth, a digital scale, a food saver heat sealer machine, a paper currency counting machine, and a loaded .22 caliber Kel-Tec firearm that had been reported stolen two weeks earlier.

On Nov. 7, after further investigation, KPD opened a safety deposit box at a local bank belonging to Hill. The box, according to a KPD press release, allegedly contained 3.2 pounds of suspected meth and 1.79 pounds of suspected heroin.

Hill was federally indicted on three counts. Count one was possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance, specifically 50 grams or more of actual meth.

Count two was possession with the intent to distribute controlled substances, specifically 50 grams or more of heroin and 100 grams or more of "a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of heroin," according to the indictment.

The third count was possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking.