New push to convict federal crimes in Rural Alaska

by Angela Denning-Barnes on February 28, 2011

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Two Bethel men are being charged with fire arms crimes as part of a federal initiative to focus more attention on federal crimes in rural Alaska. Charles Chaney, age 26, and Alexie Alfred, age 23, both of Bethel, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Anchorage. Each man was indicted for being convicted felons in possession of a firearm, and for being unregistered and in possession of a short-barreled rifle that required registration.

The four-count allegation originates from an incident in Bethel where a Bethel police vehicle was stolen in December 2009. Chaney and Alexie were involved with stealing a police Expedition and driving it down river near Napakiak. They were witnessed on the river ice, spinning doughnuts with the lights and sirens on, and were heard shooting guns as well.

Chaney and Alexie have been charged with State crimes in the Bethel court, and now, they’re facing federal crimes in Anchorage. It’s part of a Rural Prosecution Initiative, through the U.S. Attorney’s office in Alaska, which is looking to improving public safety for Rural Alaska and Alaskan tribal communities, according to a press release. Assistant District Attorney, Kelly Cavanaugh, says the attorney’s office will be putting more focus on Rural Alaska.

In the Chaney-Alexie case, federal law provides for a maximum total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.

Both Chaney and Alexie have long rap sheets.

Both defendants are currently in custody pending trial. In a separate incident, Chaney was arrested in Anchorage on Thursday (Feb. 24) for third degree assault for allegedly causing injury with a weapon.

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