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Friday, April 25, 2003



Guard set up in drug
case, his parents say

They contend he may have been
pressured by others at Halawa


The parents of a Halawa prison guard arrested last week on a federal charge of possessing two ounces of crystal methamphetamine say he was set up.

Melvin Moisa, 25, was released on a $25,000 bond yesterday pending arraignment in U.S. District Court.

Nora and Michael Moisa, who went to federal court yesterday to await their son's release, say they were devastated to hear of his arrest and alleged role in smuggling drugs into the Halawa Correctional Facility.

Their son has been a prison guard about two years and enjoyed the work, Nora Moisa said.

"I'm surprised he passed the whole exam thing, but he worked hard and got it and I was so proud of him."

Melvin is the youngest of their three children, none of whom have ever been involved with drugs, she said.

While they say their son may have made a mistake getting involved, they believe he may have been pressured by other guards or tempted by easy money and did not realize what he was really getting into.

According to a criminal complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court, an individual identified only as "Runner," who was arrested last Friday with two ounces of crystal methamphetamine and $2,000, told authorities he was to deliver the drugs to Moisa, who was to smuggle them into the prison.

Moisa was arrested last Friday after "Runner" delivered the drugs and cash to him in Kailua, the complaint said.

Also arrested last Friday was Honolulu attorney T. Stephen Leong, who was also charged with possession with intent to distribute two ounces of crystal methamphetamine.

Leong was arrested at the Aloha Tower parking lot after he allegedly paid $3,000 cash for the drugs to an undercover police officer.

An inmate at Halawa who was cooperating with Honolulu police had allegedly spoken with Leong the day before and discussed delivering the drugs to a prison guard identified only as "Brian."

The inmate had told police that he and Leong were bringing drugs into Halawa by having Leong purchase them and give them to a prison guard who would be paid to bring them into the facility, the complaint said.

A former Halawa prison guard is also facing state charges of promoting dangerous drugs in the first degree. Richard Brooks, 45, was the third to be arrested last Friday in connection with the ongoing investigation.

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