Press Releases


Skagway Police Department Announces Arrest in Overdose Deaths Investigation

Skagway, Alaska — June 3rd 2024 — The Skagway Police Department has been diligently investigating the overdose deaths of Anthony Bowers and James Cook since January 13, 2023. Today, we can announce a significant development in this case with the arrest of Jacob Cotton.  At 4:00 pm, Officer James Michels and Police Chief JJ Reddick arrested Jacob inside the Juneau International Airport after he arrived on a flight from Anchorage.

The investigation revealed that Jacob Cotton provided fentanyl to Anthony Bowers, who subsequently provided the substance to James Cook. Both victims tragically succumbed to lethal doses of fentanyl.

The arrest of Jacob Cotton marks a pivotal moment in our ongoing efforts to address the devastating impact of opioid abuse in our community; we remain steadfast in our commitment to bringing justice to the victims and their families and to curbing the distribution of dangerous narcotics in Skagway.

Jacob Cotton is facing charges of:

 Alaska Stat. § 11.71.021. Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree

(a) Except as authorized in AS 17.30, a person commits the crime of misconduct involving a controlled substance in the second degree if the person

(1) manufactures or delivers any amount of a schedule IA controlled substance or possesses any amount of a schedule IA controlled substance with intent to manufacture or deliver

(c) In this section, “listed chemical” means a chemical described under AS 11.71.200.

(d) Misconduct involving a controlled substance in the second degree is a class A felony.

Two counts of:

Alaska Stat. § 11.41.120 Manslaughter.

(a) A person commits the crime of manslaughter if the person

(1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes the death of another person under circumstances not amounting to murder in the first or second degree;

(2) intentionally aids another person to commit suicide; or

(3) knowingly manufactures or delivers a controlled substance in violation of AS 11.71.010 – 11.71.030 or 11.71.040(a)(1) for schedule IVA controlled substances, and a person dies as a direct result of ingestion of the controlled substance; the death is a result that does not require a culpable mental state; in this paragraph, “ingestion” means voluntarily or involuntarily taking a substance into the body in any manner.

(b) Manslaughter is a class A felony.

This arrest is the result of comprehensive investigative work by the Skagway Police Department, SEACAD and the DEA reflecting our unwavering dedication to public safety and justice. We would also like to thank the family, friends, and community for the support and cooperation during this investigation. Our deepest sympathies are extended to the families of the victims and our assurance to the community that we will continue to pursue every lead in our efforts to combat drug-related crimes.

We would like to show our appreciation of the hard work and dedication that Officer James Michels has committed to this case. His diligence in this case has been a huge asset to our community.

The arrest does not conclude this investigation. We will continue to work through any, and all information that has been or continues to be provided. We encourage the community members to provide any information that they can using our P3Tips tipline. Contact information can be provided, or tipsters can remain anonymous. We are always willing to meet with anyone and my office door is always open. 

Jacob will be arraigned tomorrow and his further court interactions will be decided on by the District Attorney’s Office.

The Skagway Police Department is committed to ensuring the safety and security of our community through proactive law enforcement, community engagement, and unwavering dedication to justice. We strive to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and integrity in all our operations.

For additional information, please visit


Jerry (JJ) Reddick

Chief of Police

Skagway Police Department

907-983-2232 (Office)