Arizona man sentenced for role in international drug trafficking ring

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Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) – An Arizona man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in an international drug trafficking ring targeting Alaska.

According to court documents, Joel Rascone, 30, of Yuma, Arizona, was a member of Miguel Guevara’s drug trafficking ring that smuggled over a dozen kilos of meth, heroin and cocaine from Mexico into Alaska for six years. As part of his role in the enterprise, Rascone sold heroin for the organization in Alaska and sent wire transfers to Guevara’s coconspirators and suppliers in Mexico.

Rascone had four felony convictions in the state of Arizona prior to this case, including theft, possession of a dangerous drug, and two convictions for attempted unlawful use of means of transportation. In the 2017 theft case, Rascone and two other men robbed a gas station in Yuma, Arizona, at knifepoint, all wearing masks over their faces.

Three other defendants in this case have already been sentenced or pleaded guilty:

  • Miguel Guevara, a.k.a. “Javi,” 40, has entered a plea of guilty and it is awaiting acceptance from the Court.
  • Serena Joseph, 41, pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy and money laundering and was sentenced to 63 months imprisonment.
  • Washahiotha Zaragoza, 46, pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.


Four additional co-defendants are believed to be at large in Mexico.

“These prosecutions mark another milestone in our fight against criminals who come to Alaska from Outside to traffic dangerous drugs that harm our communities,” said U.S. Attorney S. Lane Tucker for the District of Alaska. “Dismantling drug trafficking organizations is a priority for my office, and we will continue to partner with law enforcement to keep drugs out of our state and keep Alaskans safe.”

The FBI Anchorage Field Office, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) and the Drug Enforcement Administration Seattle Field Office led the investigation, with support from the Anchorage Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations Sells, Arizona Office, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, Alaska State Troopers, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Police and Alaska National Guard. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ainsley McNerney, Christopher Schroeder and William Taylor are prosecuting the case, with assistance from former Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison O’Leary. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, and law enforcement agencies in the state of Arizona provided additional support on the case.