6-23-22 West Hawaii Officer Honored For Dismantling Major Drug Trafficking Operation 

Hawai‘i Police Department
Vice Section – Area II
Lieutenant Edwin Buyten
Phone: (808) 326-4646 Ext. 226

Media Release

For his exceptional work taking down a major drug trafficking operation that was importing more than $1 million worth of narcotics to Hawai‘i Island, Officer Justin Gaspar was recently honored by the Kona Crime Prevention Committee as Officer of the Month for March 2022. Gaspar was recognized during an awards ceremony at Huggo’s on the Rocks in Kona on Wednesday, May 4, 2022.

On November 1, 2021, Officer Gaspar of the Area II Vice Section, initiated a narcotic investigation starting with a vehicle interdiction. Early on, he cultivated an informant that developed into a cooperating defendant. During the course of investigation, it was determined the narcotic source of supply was connected to a Mexican source that was involved with the Mexican Cartel, which was confirmed through an outside agency.

Upon identifying the Hawai‘i Island drug trafficking organization, Officer Gaspar was able to connect distributors involved. This in turn developed into a criminal conspiracy investigation resulting in the dismantling of the local organization when two people—the main supplier from the mainland and a local conspirator —were arrested. The main supplier from the mainland, a 49-year-old man from Tacoma Washington, was arrested for seven counts of promotion of a dangerous drug in the first degree and two counts of criminal conspiracy. A local conspirator, a 63-year-old man from Kailua-Kona, was arrested for one count of criminal conspiracy. Both were later transferred to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations on federal charges and the investigation into the extensive drug network is ongoing.

Additionally, through the course of his investigation Officer Gaspar was able to provide the Juvenile Aid Section with information regarding the identity of suspects in a juvenile death investigation.

From this investigation alone, Officer Gaspar drafted over nine search warrants that resulted in the recovery of 2,303.6 grams (five pounds) of methamphetamine, more than 7,000 fentanyl pills, and one kilogram (two pounds) of pure powdered fentanyl with a combined approximate street value of more than $1,000,000. All the aforementioned drugs were recovered in west Hawai‘i.

Officer Gaspar’s investigation stopped a large amount of narcotics from entering our island communities. The investigation stopped one of the main suppliers of narcotics to our island and cut off multiple other narcotic distributors that would have then distributed drugs within our community.

A 12-year veteran of the department, Officer Gaspar is also a K9 handler, and works with narcotics canine Boyke. Dedicated to the recovery of narcotics and the betterment of the Big Island community, Officer Gaspar strives to ensure the Big Island is a safe place to live, visit, and conduct business.

Every month the Kona Crime Prevention Committee honors a police officer in west Hawai‘i as their Officer of the Month. Officers are nominated by their supervisors from the various police districts and a winner is selected by the KCPC board of directors. All officers selected for Officer of the Month are eligible to be selected as the Kona Crime Prevention Committee’s Officer of the Year. 

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