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Man Arrested at Border Still Jailed in Fairbanks After Refusing to Sign Release Documents

Canadian Border Services Agency

An Anchorage man who was arrested last weekend for refusing to leave a checkpoint on the Alaska side of the U.S.-Canada border remains at Fairbanks Correctional Center. Officials at the jail say 61-year-old Terry Sharkey is refusing to sign paperwork required for him to be released.

It’s a twist to an already odd story that began Saturday morning, when Sharkey entered the Yukon Territory at the Beaver Creek U.S.-Canada border crossing on the Alaska Highway about 300 miles south of Fairbanks.

Sharkey was turned back, because of Canada’s COVID-related travel restrictions, but he reportedly refused to leave the checkpoint, and according to a Canadian Border Services Agency spokesperson he was arrested by Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

An RCMP spokesperson says Sharkey wasn’t charged with any offense, but was brought back across the border, along with his vehicle, to the U.S. checkpoint at Port Alcan. Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Austin McDaniel says soon thereafter, they got a call from Customs officers at port of entry asking for help with a quote “hostile subject.”

Credit Flickr
The U.S. Port of Entry at Port Alcan, at milepost 1221 on the Alaska Highway.

“Fairbanks dispatch was contacted by the United States Customs and Border Protection at the Alcan port of entry, asking for Trooper assistance removing somebody who did not want to leave their premises,” he said in a Thursday interview.

A Trooper report says Sharkey refused to identify himself to the Customs officers and refused their orders to leave the facility.

“Once Troopers responded, they again asked Mr. Sharkey to leave, and he refused, so he was arrested for trespassing,” he said.

McDaniel says Sharkey was taken to the Tok Trooper post, then transported to Fairbanks Correctional Center and jailed on a charge of second-degree trespassing. That’s a relatively minor offense, and in normal circumstances a person charged with it likely would be released the next day.

Credit KUAC file photo
Sharkey was still being held at Fairbanks Correctional Center as of Thursday evening, reportedly because he's refusing to sign paperwork necessary to be released.

But a Fairbanks Correctional Center booking office staffer said Thursday that Sharkey is still behind bars, because he’s refused to sign paperwork that would allow him to leave the jail. The staffer said he’ll continue to be held unless he signs the documents or is ordered released by a judge.

Attempts to contact Sharkey have been unsuccessful, and so far officials on either side of the border haven’t provided any information on why he’s refusing to cooperate with authorities.

Editor's Note: State Assistant Attorney General Grace Lee said in an email sent this morning that a bail hearing for Sharkey was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. today.