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Port Graham man sentenced after being caught faking own death

A Port Graham man was sentenced earlier this month for crimes he committed two years ago in connection with a plan to fake his own death and flee the authorities.

Ryan Riley Meganak, known as “Unga,” was sentenced on Nov. 8 to two-and-a-half years in prison. Fifteen months of the sentence will be served after his 15-year sentence in a case brought by the State of Alaska.

He was also ordered to pay more than $385,000 to the U.S. Coast Guard in restitution for their search and rescue operations associated with his false distress call.

The Coast Guard Investigative Services revealed that Meganak hid in a campsite near Port Graham after intentionally swamping his skiff and having his then-girlfriend, Ivy Rose Rodriguez report him missing.

The search, in difficult winter weather, lasted from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, 2016.

In sentencing, Judge Sharon L. Gleason underscored the seriousness of Meganack’s false distress offense, which she recognized had “an enormous impact” on the Coast Guard and the Port Graham community and “put so many at risk.” The judge emphasized the need to send a message that those who make false distress calls to the U.S. Coast Guard will face criminal penalties. 

In staging his disappearance, Meganak was hoping to avoid prison time in a sex assault case. As a second-time offender, his jail time would’ve been heftier.

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