Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 6:11 PM on Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Federal jury convicts Homer man on meth dealing

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer


Photo provided

In this photo provided by the U.S. District Attorney Alaska, Kostas Bairamis displays wads of $20 and $100 bills.

A federal jury earlier this month took 25 minutes to find a Homer man guilty on one count of conspiring to distribute 500 or more grams, or 1.1 pounds, of methamphetamine. Kostas Bairamis, 22, faces a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment. He was arrested in October 2010 after being indicted and is in custody in Anchorage while waiting for sentencing in September.

The jury on July 1 also found that Bairamis bought a black 2008 Cadillac Escalade with drug-trafficking proceeds and that car was to be forfeited to the U.S. government.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Sayers-Fay prosecuted the case. In a press release on July 6, she said evidence showed in the summer of 2008 Bairamis started buying meth weekly from an Anchorage dealer, first in ounce quantities and later in 4- to 8-ounce amounts.

In August 2009 he got the dealer, Hye Jeong Lee, also known as Erica Lee, to front him 1 pound, 9 ounces of meth, for which Bairamis was to pay $78,600. After paying $20,000 and unable to pay the rest, Bairamis fled to Greece for a month. He later repaid the debt by giving Jeong Lee title to the 2008 Escalade, worth about $41,000.

Sayers-Fay said among the evidence against Bairamis was a letter he wrote admitting selling "mabe (sic) a key of clear and 4 to 6 zips of brown," meaning he sold meth and heroin. The jury also heard a tape where Bairamis boasted he sold more than Bandar "Ben" al Thani, another lower Kenai Peninsula dealer from Anchor Point. Bairamis had spoken to al Thani by phone while al Thani was in federal prison. Sayers-Fay said Bairamis also said, "I'm a dope dealer. Dope, dope, dope, dope dealer. The dope boy."

Al Thani was arrested in May 2010 after authorities intercepted a FedEx package with more than 110 grams, or 3.85 ounces, of heroin that had been shipped to al Thani in Wasilla from Stockton, Calif. Federal agents said they believed al Thani had been running drugs down to the Kenai Peninsula from Anchorage, using a Ford Mustang, a BMW and a Ford Explorer to transport drugs. Those cars and $19,000 in cash were seized and forfeited in his arrest. In October 2010 al Thani pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic in heroin and meth and was sentenced to 7 years in federal prison.

Jeong Lee also pleaded guilty to drug charges, Sayers-Fay said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation led the investigation resulting in Bairamis' indictment and conviction, with substantial assistance from the Alaska State Troopers.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael. armstrong@homernews.com.