32 Arrested in Joint Undercover Drug Operations 04/27/00

Vince Agliam Ronald Auwae John Caputo
James Costa Lance Kailimai Henry Lani
Zak Shimose Raphael Solis Donald Soares Jr.

PHONE: 961-2253
APRIL 27, 2000


A joint operation by the Hawaii County Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has resulted in the arrest of 32 persons for a variety of drug offenses.

A total of 159 drug investigations have been initiated as a result of the two-month undercover operation by the Hilo Vice Section and a DEA Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) from the Los Angeles Field Division.

The results of the operation were announced Thursday (April 27, 2000) during a news conference held at the Hilo police station.

Police Chief Wayne Carvalho, who requested assistance from the Mobile Enforcement Team to the Big Island, termed the operation a “tremendous success” that has put a dent in illegal hard drug distribution in East Hawaii.

Lieutenant Henry Tavares, head of the Hilo Vice Section, said nine of the 32 suspects arrested have been turned over to federal authorities and will face federal prosecution. The rest will be tried in state courts, Tavares said.

Ten DEA agents, members of a special MET squad, arrived on the Big Island on February 22, 2000, and the joint undercover operation got under way two days later. The operation focused on the illegal distribution of hard drugs — crystal methamphetamine, or “ice,” cocaine, including “crack” cocaine, and heroin — in East Hawaii.

Besides the arrests, the drug operation resulted in the seizure of nine ounces of crystal methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $40,000; 3.8 ounces of cocaine with an estimated street value of $5,500; 918 marijuana plants and 5.9 pounds of dried, process marijuana with an estimated street value of $23,000; and 15.7 grams of heroin with an estimated street value of $3,200.

A total of $108,119 in cash, 10 motor vehicles and two motorcycles valued at a total of $50,000, miscellaneous jewelry valued at $30,000 and a surveillance camera valued at $1,000 were also seized for forfeiture.

The operation also resulted in the recovery a 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun, a .44-caliber revolver, a 6mm semi-automatic handgun, a .357 magnum revolver and two 20-gauge shotguns.

Tavares said that information gathered jointly in the operation “will be followed up for the next several months and additional arrests are expected.”

Most of the arrests were made as a result of undercover drug purchases and also from information supplied by anonymous phone calls.

The arrests have put several of the upper-level drug dealers out of operation, Tavares said.

He said the operation “exposed the severity of the drug problem in East Hawaii.”

“Different drug dealers were being identified on a daily basis,” he said.

The nine persons who have been turned over to federal officials and charged via complaint are:

  • Vince Agliam, 35, of Hilo.
  • Ronald Auwae, 27, of Hilo.
  • John Caputo, 39, of Mountain View.
  • James Costa, 56, of Hilo.
  • Lance Kailimai, 49, of Hilo.
  • Henry Lani, 22, of Pepeekeo.
  • Zak Shimose, 29, of Hilo.
  • Raphael Solis, 30, of Orchidland.
  • Donald Soares Jr., 37, of Mountain View.

# # #

This entry was posted in Media Releases. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • Keep your community safe through Crime Stoppers

    Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

    The Crime Stoppers TV Program is available on-demand from Nā Leo TV.