Five charged with drug offenses so far as result of police sweep 01-09-03

PHONE: 961-2244
JANUARY 9, 2003


Five persons have been charged with drug offenses so far as a result of a police sweep of drug houses in East Hawaii on Wednesday (January 8, 2003).

Another suspect has been released pending federal charges, and 17 other persons arrested have been released pending further investigation.

A total of 23 persons were eventually arrested in the drug sweep of eight suspected drug houses in Puna and Hilo. The sweep began at 7 a.m. and ended about 4 p.m.

The operation was funded by federal grants through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and the Hawaii Narcotic Task Force (HNTF) programs. The HNTF is a Byrne Memorial Grant program funded through the State Attorney General’s Office.

Dubbed “Operation Meltdown,” the effort resulted in raids on six residences in Puna — two in Hawaiian Beaches, two in Ainaloa Estates, one in Keaau and one in Kurtistown — and two residences in Hilo. In addition, two cars were stopped and searched.

Acting on search warrants, officers recovered a total of 10.5 ounces of crystal methamphetamine, or “ice”; 14 ounces of cocaine; 34 marijuana plants; 7 ounces of dried marijuana; various types of prescription drugs; and numerous scales, containers, packets and pipes used in drug distribution and consumption.

In addition, police confiscated three rifles, three handguns, various types of ammunition and $6,083 in cash.

Nine persons were charged under bench warrants that were unrelated to the drug sweep.

Assisting vice officers in the raid were officers from the Community Policing Program, Special Response Team, Juvenile Aid Section, Criminal Investigation Section and Administrative Services as well as patrol officers from the various East Hawaii patrol districts; officers from the Kauai and Maui Police Departments; members of the Hawaii National Guard and the Narcotics Enforcement Division of the State Department of Public Safety; and federal agents from the U.S. Customs Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The five persons charged with drug offenses so far are:

  • Don Bidal, with one count of promoting detrimental drugs, one count of promoting dangerous drugs and one count of possessing drug paraphernalia.
  • Andrene L. Menzsa, with one count of promoting dangerous drugs and one count of possessing drug paraphernalia.
  • Sean C. Kobayashi, with two counts of promoting dangerous drugs and one count of possessing drug paraphernalia.
  • Samuel Al Flores, with one count of promoting dangerous drugs.
  • Deborah Pascual, with two counts of promoting dangerous drugs and one count of possessing drug paraphernalia.

Although only one suspect was released pending federal charges, police said they are conferring with federal authorities about possible federal prosecution of other arrestees.

Police Chief Lawrence K. Mahuna called the joint operation a “major blow to illegal drug operations on the Big Island.”

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday evening, Mahuna said the operation was part of the department’s on-going efforts to curtail illegal drug activity in Hawaii County.

“We will continue to investigate, arrest and prosecute those involved in trafficking dangerous drugs,” he said. “Their illegal activities have adversely affected many households and families on the Big Island and have ruined the lives of many of our young people.”

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