3 indicted on drug trafficking, murder charges in May Trapper Creek killings

Published: Oct. 31, 2023 at 9:54 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - A California prison inmate led conspirators in the May kidnapping and killing of two Alaska residents, that took place near Trapper Creek, according to a Friday press release.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment last week. 56-year-old Heraclio Sanchez-Rodriguez, 41-year-old Tamara Denise Bren and 29-year-old Kevin Glenn Peterson II were indicted with numerous charges to include drug trafficking, conspiracy, carjacking, kidnapping and murder charges. Sanchez-Rodriguez and Bren were also charged with engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise. The indictment states, “If convicted of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, Bren and Sanchez-Rodriguez face a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. The maximum penalty for the remaining charges is life imprisonment.”

According to the indictment, the defendants used cell phones to track 30-year-old Fairbanks resident Sunday Powers and 34-year-old Anchorage resident Kami Clark before the conspirators stole the victims’ vehicle and drove them to a hidden location near Trapper Creek. At one point, during the kidnapping and carjacking, Powers was able to call 911, but a conspirator ended her call.

Conspirators then reportedly executed the two Alaskans, burying them in a shallow grave. Troopers found the women and the stolen vehicle a little less than two weeks later, on June 2.

Powers had been reported missing since May 24, according to trooper dispatch report.

The indictment notes the murders were related to a drug trafficking scheme that distributed 33 kilograms of fentanyl, 11 kilograms of meth, four kilograms of heroin and 57 grams of cocaine to communities across Alaska, including Fairbanks. The fentanyl alone is enough for about 16,500 lethal doses.

Sanchez-Rodriguez used smuggled phones to coordinate the scheme from a prison in Soledad, California, the indictment says.

Alaska State Troopers (AST) released a written statement on Friday in response to the indictment. AST mentioned law enforcement had tracked down Bren and Peterson, the two Alaskans who allegedly co-conspired to carry out the killings at Trapper Creek, for other charges.

According to the statement, “both Alaskans involved in the murders have been in Alaska Department of Corrections custody since June 2023 on separate charges, and there has been no ongoing public safety threat to any Alaskans since these arrests were made.”

The indictment unsealed Friday did not explain how Powers and Clark may have been connected to the drug trafficking scheme.