Bail denied for teacher accused of dealing 'ice'
The finding that he could be dangerous stuns some 60 family members and friends
A federal judge denied bail for a 29-year-old Leilehua High School teacher charged with dealing "ice" while in the classroom, despite an outpouring of support from family and friends.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Kawahara said Lee Nobuo Anzai was someone who had gone beyond selling drugs to support his habit, to the point where "drug trafficking was a way of life."
Anzai had at least five or six methamphetamine suppliers he could call on and even had a Mexican supplier living in Las Vegas, Kawahara said.
The income from selling ice was "his disposable income" and "his play money," Kawahara said.
Federal Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang said that while Anzai did not appear to be a flight risk, he did not have sufficient information to overcome the presumption that Anzai posed a danger to the community.
The decision to keep Anzai in custody stunned about 60 family members and friends who filled the courtroom. Tears streamed down the face of his wife, Sherri, who brought their 9-month-old son to court. Many stood in the courtroom shocked and some in tears after the decision.
As Anzai left the courtroom, a friend called out, "Don't give up, Lee."
Anzai's attorney, Howard Luke, said he was pleased the judge "left open the possibility of Mr. Anzai being released." Anzai must first be assessed by a professional drug assessment counselor, which could happen as soon as today.
Luke had proposed releasing Anzai to the custody of his parents or in-laws until he could enter a residential drug treatment program.
Luke said Anzai posed no flight risk, with "so much social contact, so much shame involved and so much social support."
Anzai never had problems at school, and there are no allegations he used drugs at school, used threats or any weapons, and he was not distributing all across the city, Luke said.
"It's unfortunate no one slapped him upside the head years ago," Luke told the court.
Court documents allege Anzai had been conducting drug deals with the undercover officer in parking lots in Kalihi, Waipio Gentry and downtown.
On Tuesday the special-education teacher was busy dealing drugs from the time he got out of school to midnight, when he was arrested, Kawahara said.
On the two occasions the undercover officer called him on his cell phone (Sept. 19 and Tuesday), Anzai was in school before it let out. Kawahara implied that the conversation they had indicated he had the drugs with him.
Kawahara said Anzai was a danger to the community because of his continued propensity for drug trafficking, and that he had the potential to commit other crimes.
His methamphetamine abuse goes back to high school, undetected while living with his parents, in-laws and wife, Kawahara said.
"If he was so successful in hiding all these years, how can we expect them to know if he's engaging in drug use?"
When federal agents searched Anzai's Mililani home, they found paraphernalia for drug use and distribution in a bedroom where his wife knew he and his friends would lock the door, smoke marijuana and play games.
Kawahara also said Anzai had indicated during his interview with authorities that he was unwilling to participate in a drug treatment program.
Kawahara said he felt for those who wrote letters of support submitted to the court.
If he is a good teacher, "what exactly is he teaching?" Kawahara asked.