New task force hits lower-level dealers
The FBI, DEA and customs agents work with HPD and sheriffs
The quick arrest of a high school teacher for allegedly selling "ice" could not have been accomplished without a new anti-drug task force, one official said.
The Hawaii Rapid Reduction Drug Task Force was created in February and is made up of members of the Honolulu Police Department, Sheriff Division, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
It was formed to review complaints made by the community about suspicious drug-related activities and to match up the information to intelligence under the federal government, U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo said during a news conference.
Its mission is to "quickly and aggressively investigate and arrest in a mid- to low-level neighborhood drug dealers in hopes of working our way into the prosecution of drug organizations above them," Kubo said.
The arrest of special-education teacher Lee N. Anzai just before midnight Tuesday was initiated through calls made by residents to the Honolulu Police Department's Narcotics/Vice Division.
Members of the task force match complaints received through the Honolulu Police Department and collaborate with 12 other agencies, Kubo said.
From February through September, the task force:
» Made 30 federal drug-related arrests.
» Seized 35 pounds of ice and five pounds of cocaine.
» Seized 11 firearms, five vehicles and $710,000 in cash.
Authorities continue to urge residents to call the HPD's Narcotics/Vice Division at 529-3101 if they suspect drug activity in their neighborhood.
"The public should know that your calls and complaints are not falling on deaf ears and that they do matter," said Tony Williams, assistant special agent-in-charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Honolulu. "A lot of times, the information that we receive from the public would give us a little bit more, that small piece of puzzle that would help investigators succeed."
Complaint calls made to authorities involved in the task force led to the arrest of Bryan Higa and Marvin Quemado, who allegedly stole $2 million worth of jewelry from a salesman in Waipahu in June. Both have a criminal history involving drug-related offenses.