Former adult store owner will forfeit $1M
A federal judge has ordered a former Keeaumoku-area adult-video store owner to forfeit assets valued at more than $1 million after she was convicted of allowing her business to be used for the buying and selling of drugs.
U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor ordered Betty Yi Hernandez, 63, on Wednesday to turn over $951,621 in cash, a 1999 Dodge Durango, a 2000 Nissan Infiniti, the fee-simple interest in an Aiea apartment and all inventory and equipment from Swing Video at 1340 Kapiolani Blvd.
Her arrest and prosecution was the result of a long investigation that resulted in the arrests of 38 alleged drug dealers and users in the state and elsewhere with connection to cocaine and methamphetamine suppliers in California and Arizona.
Gillmor sentenced Hernandez on Monday to three years and four months in federal prison for money laundering and allowing her business to be used for the buying and selling of drugs.
Hernandez pleaded guilty in November to multiple counts of money laundering and violating the federal "crack house" statute. She admitted she knew drug dealers were distributing crack cocaine from her business, but did not do anything about it.
Hernandez was named in a 99-count indictment in December 2003, the same day authorities arrested her at her Salt Lake home and raided her video store, causing it to shut down.
The indictment alleged Hernandez, beginning in 1999, charged drug dealers $20 to sell drugs at her store and $2 for users to enter -- using her business as a private front for drug dealers.
The video store, formerly at North Hotel and Smith streets, was also the focus of a drug investigation in the late 1990s. Hernandez relocated to the Keeaumoku area after her downtown building was seized.
The site is within a Weed and Seed district and is the focus of a law enforcement effort to "weed" out crime and drugs and plant "seeds" of economic growth.
The investigation was an multiagency effort involving the Honolulu Police Department, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration.