Winter in Unalaska by Sam Zmolek
Your voice in the Aleutians.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
The KUCB Newsroom provides newscasts Monday through Thursday at noon and 5 PM on KUCB Radio. You can find many of our local news stories here.

Oregon Man Charged With Distributing Drugs After String Of Unalaska Overdoses Dies In Custody

Berett Wilber/KUCB


An Oregon man accused of distributing drugs after a series of overdoses in Unalaska in 2019 has died in prison.


Federal inmate Chopper Ellingsworth was pronounced dead at the Anchorage Correctional Complex last week, according to a statement from the Alaska Department of Corrections. His death is the second death to take place in DOC custody this year.


Ellingsworth hadn't been sentenced, but had been in custody since November of 2019.  He was charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substances. 


After four overdoses on the island in the fall of that year, one of which was fatal, investigators found a shipment of various drugs at a suspected dealer's home in Unalaska, which the dealer later said came from Ellingsworth and a man named Michael Hindman in Gresham, Oregon. 


Ellingsworth and Hindman both pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin and methamphetamine through the U.S. Postal Service after they were taken into custody. 


Ellingsworth was 58. His death is not COVID-19-related and no foul play is suspected, the statement said. His next of kin have been notified.


Because there is no suspected foul play, the Department of Justice will not continue with its investigation into Ellingsworth's death, according to Deputy U.S. Marshal Rochelle Liedike. She said his death will be reviewed by the Alaska State Troopers and the Medical Examiner's Office.


Hailing from Southwest Washington, Maggie moved to Unalaska in 2019. She's dabbled in independent print journalism in Oregon and completed her Master of Arts in English Studies at Western Washington University — where she also taught Rhetoric and Composition courses.
Related Content