Katherine M. Olson arrested on 11 heroin charges
A series of documented heroin sales by Katherine M. Olson beginning in March this year has landed Olson, 25, in jail pending $10,000 cash bail.
Olson appeared for arraignment in Anchorage Jail Court on Aug.17 after her arrest on a warrant issued by the State of Alaska on Aug. 16 in Nome.
Olson of Nome faces 11 drug charges, which tote up to five Felony C charges and one Felony B charge, for selling heroin. Additionally, court records show five related misdemeanor charges accusing Olson of possession of heroin, according to court documents.
The court has provided Olson a public defender attorney for her defense.
Investigators used confidential informants, a warrant giving them permission to record conversations between Olson and an informant, recorded buy money, and law enforcement witnesses to break the case.
The court calendar has Olson slated for a preliminary hearing in person or via phone in Nome Second District Court on Thursday, Aug. 24, at 1:30 p.m.
An affidavit filed by Western Alaska Alcohol and Narcotics Team Investigator Garrett Frost recounts five controlled purchases by confidential informants in March, May and June. Frost’s affidavit states the total amount of heroin purchased from Olson during the series of purchases weighed 1.4 grams.
On the late evening of March 7, investigators gave a confidential informant the $480 that the informant gave Olson in exchange for four packages of heroin, each verified by a crime lab to contain single doses of 0.12 gram of heroin each, individually priced at $120.
On May 25, Frost provided another confidential informant $400 in recorded bills with which the informant successfully purchased three single doses of heroin from Olson. Additional purchases followed on May 26 of two tinfoil bundles at 1/10 gram each for $300 and on May 31 of two tinfoil packages of heroin weighing 1/10 gram each for a total of $240.
On May 26, Frost obtained a Glass warrant from court to record conversations between the informant and Olson.
On June 21, a third confidential informant set up a deal with Olson to buy heroin. The informant, according to court documents, contacted Olson via cell phone to purchase three “niffs” — user slang for single serve amounts of heroin (1/10 gram)—at an agreed price of $360.
With the assistance of WAANT Sgt. Kevin Blanchette and Nome Police Dept. Sgt. Justin Timm, Frost met with the informant on June 21 and provided the informant $360 in undercover prerecorded “buy” money. The informant obtained the drug. Olson was observed hopping into a vehicle passenger seat. As the vehicle moved away, Frost observed Olson counting cash, according to Frost’s affidavit. All brown tar-like substance purchased in the sting went to the state crime lab for testing and confirmation. Frost received lab reports on each item indicating a positive identification of heroin, according to Frost’s affidavit.
In requesting the warrant for Olson’s arrest, Frost also requested “a significant bail amount be set due to the hazard she potentially proposes to the community of Nome.”
The court set the bail at $10,000 cash.
WAANT is short for Western Alaska Alcohol and Narcotics Team, a division within the Alaska State Trooper’s drug and alcohol enforcement.
A Glass warrant is named after a court case that mandated that law enforcement must have a warrant before secretly recording a conversation, or seizing a conversation electronically, of a defendant. Generally, undercover officers who use informants to obtain evidence against a suspect handle these types of cases. The court has ruled that the expectation of privacy does not apply when a subject knowingly talks to a police officer and the officer may, without the subject’s knowledge or consent, record conversations during the arrest process.
According to the AST Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Enforcement Web page, WAANT is a team concentrating on Alaska’s west coast, and includes Kotzebue, Nome, Bethel, Dillingham and the Aleutian Chain. The WAANT comprises one Alaska State Trooper sergeant, two AST investigators, one AST Criminal Justice Technician and one soldier from National Guard Counter Drug Support Program in Anchorage; three AST investigators and one local police officer in Bethel; one AST investigator in Nome, one AST investigator and one local police officer in Dillingham and one AST investigator and a local police officer in Kotzebue. Nome’s WAANT tip line is 1-800-443-2835.