Two arrested in major ‘ice’ bust 08-14-04

HAWAII COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
EAST HAWAII CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DIVISION
CAPTAIN SAMUEL THOMAS
PHONE: 961-2251
AUGUST 14, 2004

Photo of Jose Prado Photo of Cloefas Armenta
ARRESTED IN “ICE” BUST – In what officers call the biggest “ice” bust in Hawaii County Police Department history, police arrested Jose Prado, left, and Cloefas Armenta and confiscated 20.93 pounds of crystal methamphetamine. Prado was charged with promotion of a dangerous drug, and Armento was being held pending further investigation.

MEDIA RELEASE

Acting on a tip, Big Island police and state and federal agents arrested a California man and confiscated 20.93 pounds of crystal methamphetamine in what police call the biggest “ice” bust in the history of the Hawaii County Police Department.

Officers arrested a 26-year-old California resident, identified as Jose Alberto Prado, and charged him Saturday (August 14, 2004) with first-degree promotion of dangerous drugs and illegal possession of drug paraphernalia. Prado is being held in the Hilo police cellblock in lieu of $100,000 bail.

In addition, the officers seized 20.93 pounds of “ice” having a street value of $1.4 million.

Officers also arrested a second suspect, identified as Cloefas Eduwiges Armenta, of Honomu, for illegal possession of drug paraphernalia. He is being held pending further investigation.

Besides officers from the East Hawaii Ice Task Force and Vice Section, agents from the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, State Department of conservation and Resources Enforcement, State Narcotics Enforcement Department and the Hawaii Army National Guard’s counter-drug program worked on the investigation.

Captain Samuel Thomas, head of the East Hawaii Criminal Investigation Division, noted the size of the drug seizure, saying “ice” is usually sold on the streets in tenths of a gram. The drug seizure amounts to 9,493.85 grams, he noted.

“This arrest and drug seizure should notify drug dealers that the Hawaii County Police Department will not tolerate the trafficking of illegal drugs on the Big Island,” Thomas said.

“It reinforces the department’s resolution to carry out the mandate it has received from Mayor Harry Kim and Police Chief Lawrence Mahuna to stop the importation of crystal methamphetamine to the Big Island and the production of this drug on the Big Island.”

Acting on a tip received by the Bureau of Immigration and customs Enforcement and passed on to the department’s Ice Task Force, officers seized a 1995 Ford van at Hilo harbor. The van had been shipped to the island.

The officers obtained a search warrant, and on July 28, 2004, discovered a compartment located under the floor on the right front passenger’s seat. In the compartment, they recovered the more than 20 pounds of crystal methamphetamine.

On discovery of the drugs, the officers set up surveillance on the van. On August 12, the suspect, Prado, signed for and picked up the van.

Officers maintained surveillance on the van and Prado. Prado apparently became suspicious and parked the van in the parking lot of a Hilo mall and left it.

At 5:20 p.m. the next day, officers arrested Prado on Banyan Drive in Hilo.

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