Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 1:46 PM on Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Homer man faces new drug charges

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer

A Homer man convicted last summer of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine faces new charges of selling oxycodone and methadone. A federal grand jury last week indicted Kostas Bairamis, 23, of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

Also named in the same indictment are Kenai Peninsula residents Melissa Cue, 34, B.J. Griffith, 22, and William Gilbert, 25, and Anchorage resident Justin Lane, 23.

A federal jury convicted Bairamis last July. It also found that Bairamis bought a 2008 Cadillac Escalade with drug proceeds and forfeited the Escalade to the U.S. government.

On the meth conviction in July, the jury found that in August 2009 Bairamis fronted more than a pound of meth, worth $78,600, from a dealer, Hye Jeong Lee, also known as Erica Lee. 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 a fire-damaged 2008 Escalade, worth about $41,000, which was in custody of arson investigators.

At Bairamis' trial, Lee testified that in April 2010 while working with law enforcement she turned over the title to them. Lee also pleaded guilty to drug charges.

A federal grand jury also indicted Griffith on one count of money laundering conspiracy relating to Bairamis' 2008 Escalade. That indictment alleges Griffith, in agreement with an unnamed coconspirator, in May 2010 falsely signed an affidavit saying the title for Bairamis' 2008 fire-damaged Escalade had been lost and that he was the sole or joint owner and knew it had been bought with drug trafficking proceeds.

Griffith also is alleged to have had title issued in his alias, "BJ Griffin," to a 2007 Cadillac Escalade he also knew had been bought with drug trafficking proceeds.

Griffith and Cue also were indicted in December 2010 by a Nevada federal grand jury as part of a 17-person conspiracy to launder money and smuggle oxycodone between Nevada and Alaska. Griffith is alleged to have made deposits of more than $1,000 in the Homer Wells Fargo bank between July 2009 and October 2010.

That indictment also named a Kenai man, Alfred Jones, 48, involved in a fatal car crash north of Homer that killed a Washington, D.C., woman over the Memorial Day weekend in 2010. No charges have been filed in that crash and the case remains under investigation by Alaska State Troopers.

Assistant U.S. District Attorney Kimberly Sayers-Fay, who presented the latest indictment to the grand jury, said that while Griffith and Cue were named in the Nevada indictment, the government does not allege any overlap between that case and the latest charges.

The latest indictment alleges that between June and October 2010, Bairamis got oxycodone and methadone from Cue and Lane. Bairamis then distributed those drugs to Griffith and Gilbert, who then sold it, the indictment alleges.

Sayers-Fay said that the maximum penalties on the latest drug distribution charges are 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. For the money laundering charge, the maximum penalty is 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Bairamis is still waiting for sentencing on the July conviction. Charges against Griffith and Cue are still pending for the Nevada indictment.

Alaska State Troopers and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the latest indictments.

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