Trooper Says Election Delayed Alaska Drug Case

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Associated Press
Friday, December 26, 2008

WASILLA, Alaska -- The mother of Bristol Palin's boyfriend sent text messages discussing drug transactions less than a month after the young woman's mother, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, was nominated as the Republican vice presidential candidate, according to court documents filed this week.

An affidavit from an Alaska state trooper, filed Monday, states that Sherry L. Johnston referred in her messages to two police informants to "coffee" as a code for the drug OxyContin.

Johnston, 42, was arrested on felony drug charges last week after state troopers served a search warrant at her Wasilla home. She allegedly sold OxyContin tablets to the informants on three occasions this fall, the affidavit states. Police said two of the meetings were recorded by a hidden camera and a microphone.

Johnston is the mother of Levi Johnston, 18. Sarah Palin announced in September that her daughter Bristol, also 18, was pregnant and that Johnston was the father. Their child was due to be born Dec. 18, her grandfather Chuck Heath told the Anchorage Daily News recently.

Authorities say the case against Sherry Johnston began in the second week of September, when drug investigators intercepted a package containing 179 OxyContin pills. That led to the arrest of the suspects, who agreed to be informants.

According to the affidavit, Johnston sent a text message to one informant Oct. 1, writing: "Hey, my phones are tapped and reporters and god knows who else is always following me and the family so no privacy. I will let u no when I can go for cof."

The trooper's affidavit indicates that Sarah Palin's candidacy factored into the investigation, with state officials delaying execution of a search warrant until this month, when Johnston was "no longer under the protection or surveillance of the Secret Service."


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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