A Port Graham man and his girlfriend face federal charges after the two conspired to fake his death so that he could avoid pleading guilty in a sexual assault case in Anchorage, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Ryan “Unga” Meganack, 34, and 25-year-old Ivy Rodriguez, his girlfriend, are charged with conspiracy and false distress, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Alaska. Meganack was originally reported missing Nov. 30, 2016, near Passage Island in Port Graham south of Homer, and was arrested Dec. 2, 2016, after Alaska State Troopers discovered he was actually alive and hiding out in Port Graham. Meganack also was charged with felon in possession of a firearm.
Meganack had been charged in January 2015 for sexual assault in Anchorage. Online court records show he faced one count of first-degree sexual assault, four counts of second-degree sexual assault and three counts of third-degree sexual assault, and that he was scheduled to plead guilty to one count of third-degree sexual assault on Dec. 5, 2016, in Anchorage court.
“To avoid that consequence, Meganack attempted to fake his own death and enlisted the help of his girlfriend, Rodriguez,” the release states.
The release describes Meganack as a “long-time commercial fisherman and a boat captain.” It describes how he abandoned his skiff near Passage Island in a way that would suggest he had gone missing or died.
“Meganack was, in actuality, safe in a makeshift campsite near Port Graham that he made for carrying out their plan,” the release states.
After sinking the skiff, Meganack picked up Rodriguez in his larger fishing vessel, and the two anchored it in a tidal lagoon before walking back to Port Graham, according to the release and the original criminal complaint from his arrest. Rodriguez told Meganack’s family that he hadn’t returned from going out in the skiff and indicated that he had been drinking, knowing that his family would report him missing, according to the release.
At that point, a search for Meganack commenced that included the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak and other Coast Guard resources, the Alaska State Troopers and Alaska State Parks, the Village of Port Graham and resident volunteers.
“The Coast Guard alone expended approximately $310,897.50 in resources during the search for Meganack,” the release states.
The weather conditions throughout the search operation were poor, including high winds, snow and low visibility, according to the release.
Troopers got a tip on Dec. 1, 2016, that Meganack might be hiding in Port Graham instead of missing. It was then they discovered his change of plea hearing in Anchorage.
When Meganack was arrested on Dec. 2, 2016, he was charged with and later pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly conduct brought by the state. Scot Leaders of the District Attorney’s Office in Kenai did not return phone calls asking for an explanation of why the state charged Meganack with such a minor criminal charge.
Once back in custody, Meganack appeared in state court to plead guilty to the single count of third-degree sexual assault in his Anchorage case and was sentenced this June, according to online court records. All other charges in that case were dismissed.
Reach Megan Pacer at firstname.lastname@example.org.