Alaska Taxi CabTaxi Cab Alaska
There are twenty-three Bethel residents, mostly taxi drivers, accused of boatlegging.
Today, Friday 8 September, a two-year inquiry peaked with accusations against 23 Bethel inhabitants, most of them taxi driver, for alleged unlicensed sale of liquor, i.e. smuggling. State of Alaska calculates 18 taxi riders coming from each Bethel company: Kusko Taxi, Quyana Taxi, Kusko Taxi, Taxi Taxi and Alaska Taxi.
Others, who were accused, are said to have assisted taxi riders to boat lay. This two-year covert survey was carried out by the State Trooper's Western Alaska Alcohol and Narcotics Team. The Bethel people may recall the June 2016 roundup in which Trooper, with the help of Bethel police and the FBI, raided houses and taxis, mainly in Bethel's Trailer Court; many Quyana and taxi Alaska riders lived in this area.
For years, the Troopers had received evidence that Bethel riders were involved in the sale of liquor. First, the Troopers turned to state files. The Trooper noted that many of these orders were placed by taxi riders. And then the troublemakers went underground. By taxi, the officials asked the driver whether they could get "one" or a "jug".
Lean bottles of plastics are a common sight that pollutes car parks and Bethel beach and can be the most widely drunk alcoholic beverage in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. When they were ready to participate, the rider would stop at a residential to collect a cylinder or arrange to see another rider wearing it.
Sometimes, when a rider identified an officers pre-purchaser, the rider would suggest to buy a cylinder for the unmarked officers. Only a few people were carrying the booze in their taxis. The sale of alcoholic beverages was legalised in Bethel at the beginning of 2016, but only to licenced shops. Between 2015 and 2016, Trooper made a total of 50 boat-leg undercovers.
Seventy-seven of the fifty were taxi-driving. Just three of the accused, none of them taxi driver, have past sentences. For a company condemned for the sale of unlicensed alcoholic beverages, the ultimate sentence is $500,000.