Wiretaps revealed police ties to gambling
FBI documents detail the extent of relations between officers and enterprise organizers
The FBI wiretapped the phones of at least four Honolulu police officers providing law enforcement information to Charles Gilman and John Saguibo, Waialua residents accused of engaging in illegal gambling, cockfighting and drug trafficking enterprises on the North Shore, according to FBI documents.
In turn, Saguibo, 38, and Gilman, 49, a well-known cockfight promoter on the North Shore, used the information to target rival drug and gambling operations, the FBI alleged in court documents unsealed recently.
"While the investigation has revealed HPD officers' knowing protection of the illegal gambling enterprise, it remains unknown whether these police officers were knowing participants in the protection of Gilman's alleged drug trafficking organization," said FBI Special Agent Jason K. White in a court affidavit seeking authorization for renewal of the wiretaps on Gilman's Nextel cell phone.
One of the affidavits details the names of more than 100 people, including at least eight police officers, one of them a lieutenant in the Windward district, who were looked at as part of a two-year investigation that resulted in eight separate federal indictments handed down since April 6.
Of the eight officers, five were indicted, but not all are accused of ties to illegal gambling or drug trafficking activities.
The indictments were the result of numerous wiretaps of people associated with "ice" and illicit drug traffickers, cockfighters and gamblers whose activities allegedly extended to paying corrupt Liquor Commission inspectors to collect on debts and to overlook liquor violations.
The investigation also names a person with alleged ties to groups involved in a violent struggle to gain control of security at illegal game rooms in Pearl City and Honolulu, activities that U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo attributes to a double murder at the Pali Golf Course in January 2004.
THE SUMMARY of the wiretaps talks about the relationship Saguibo and Gilman had with officers Bryson Apo and Kevin Brunn.
For example, on Jan. 25, 2005, Gilman contacted Saguibo about police he observed by "the winding road," referring to Kaukonahua Road, which is a short distance from Gilman's home.
Saguibo called Brunn, who is his cousin, and asked about the officers and told Brunn to call Gilman. Saguibo is also heard "direct connecting" to Apo, who told him he had not heard anything about it. Saguibo subsequently told Gilman that he would call "the station" to see who is working and call back once he found out what was happening.
"Based on the investigation, I believe Gilman is concerned because he observes numerous police officers on a road near his residence," and called Brunn and Apo, his police contacts, to find out why, Agent White wrote.
In another conversation, Saguibo and Gilman discussed the delivery of an envelope of money to Micha Terragna, Brunn's wife. Terragna and Brunn are both accused of extorting Gilman in exchange for warning him of impending raids on his cockfighting activities.
The FBI also conducted surveillance of the cockfights which took place in a vacant lot across from Waialua Elementary School on land owned by Gilman's family, one of two large landowners in Waialua.
Gilmans' father and two brothers, one of whom works for the Elderly Affairs Division of the city Department of Community Services, also have been indicted.
Physical surveillance of the officers also documented their meetings with Gilman and Saguibo on at least two occasions in January 2005.
One of the meetings took place behind the Kaneohe police substation among Apo, Gilman Saguibo and an unidentified HPD sergeant.
Five days later, Saguibo and Gilman were observed meeting in the garage of another officer's home. That officer has not been indicted.
The FBI believed that both meetings were held because of a raid ordered by a narcotics/vice division sergeant on Gilman's cockfight derby.
Apo, Saguibo and Brunn all pleaded not guilty on Friday in U.S. District Court.
Attorneys for Apo and Brunn declined comment. But defense attorney Michael Green, who represents Saguibo, said based on experience and the hundreds of wiretaps that were conducted, "this is a solid case."
"These guys have been investigating this for a long time and if this case does go to trial, I think some policemen will go to trial."
He noted that there is a world of difference between the way local and federal law enforcement operate: "I'm not suggesting one is right and one is wrong, but what local policemen do to uncover crime and things like that may be perceived by the federal government as aiding and abetting and doing things that violate their oath and federal statute."
Green has not even begun reviewing the hundreds of wiretaps the FBI conducted and said it is too early to say whether his client will go to trial.
"The likelihood is at some place down the road, we're going to try to figure out a way to dispose of this thing in a way that helps him the most," he said.
The investigation that started this began in March 2004 after the FBI learned that one of its employees, secretary Charmaine Moniz, was accessing sensitive law enforcement documents that named known drug dealers on the North Shore.