Alaska pilot gets to keep plane after alcohol importation

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — A 70-year-old Fairbanks pilot won’t have to forfeit an airplane as part of an alcohol importation conviction.

Charter pilot Ken Jouppi allowed a passenger to bring cans of beer on a flight to a dry village. He served three days in jail.

Alaska law permits the seizure of planes used to “import” alcohol into local-option dry communities.

But Jouppi’s attorney argued Jouppi never imported alcohol, because his plane never left the tarmac in April 2012, when Alaska State Troopers executed a search warrant on the aircraft.

Judge Patrick Hammers also fined Jouppi $1,500. The beer equaled about seven gallons of alcohol.

Hammers originally called for the plane’s seizure, but determined in an order issued last week that Jouppi’s failure to reach the dry community meant he didn’t import alcohol.

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