February 14, 2013 | Vol. 39, No. 7

Three year investigation finally ends with conviction for Petersburg Police

Approximately three years ago, Petersburg Police Sergeant Heidi Agner began an investigation that has taken years to finally come to fruition.

Feb. 8, Federal Judge Timothy Burgess sentenced Victor Araujo, 51, to 60 months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine.

“Araujo was brought to my attention by an under-cover agent that was working here,” Agner said. “That agent's work not only led to the conviction of Araujo but four others who were charged, convicted and served time for felony drug related crimes.”

Agner explained that Araujo was distributing drugs into Petersburg, specifically heroin.

“One of the investigating reports stated that Araujo brought the drugs in the community, but also made them ready for people already in a syringe,” Agner stated. “This seemed to be a favorite product amount for high school students and young adults.”

Agner wanted to mention that a community member, who no longer lives in the area, allowed her access to their home in order to keep surveillance on Araujo and his operation.

“I was approached by a community resident who was tired of the activity taking place in his neighborhood,” Agner stated. “I was able to watch Araujo for about three months conducting business.”

Agner explained that the process is long and hard and even after three months of pictures, witnessing and credible information, that wasn't even enough to secure a conviction for Araujo.

“I spent that time recording and gathering information to pass on in order to build a better case,” Agner said. “It still took years to get him behind bars.”

Agner worked with officers and agents with the Alaska State Troopers, Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, SEACAD and HIDTA at the Seattle Airport to bring this case to a slow conclusion.

“The officers I worked with were wonderful and anytime I had information, they would make themselves available,” Agner said. “Araujo was finally stopped in the Seattle Airport but was not detained.”

Agner explained that Araujo was given an opportunity to help himself and work with officials to arrest others.

“Araujo came across like he was helping, but he was really informing others of what was going on,” Agner said. “He was still able to help us arrest Jeff Kyle Smith in March for picking up a package from Araujo.”

Araujo was released and spent some of the last three years in Mexico and continued to import drugs into Petersburg. According to Agner, some of those packages were seized, some were not.

Over the course of the investigation Petersburg Police intercepted eight ounces of heroin, two ounces of cocaine and six ounces of methamphetamine.

“This is just what we were able to catch Araujo with and stop as it was coming into the community,” Agner stated. “There is no end to the amount that he did get past everyone.”

Agner pointed out that it may have taken a long time but the work did pay off.

“The people asked me over and over if anything would come of all of my time there,” Agner stated. “I told them, it may take years but we will do everything we can. I wish I could tell them that it did come to a good end.”

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