'Ice' supplier gets prison term
The 30-year-old Las Vegas supplier of a large-scale trafficking organization bringing "ice" to Maui in 2005 was sentenced in federal court yesterday to 23 years and eight months in prison.
U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright sentenced Leandro Gomez III, who pleaded guilty to methamphetamine-trafficking charges along with nine others.
Gomez supplied multi-pound amounts of methamphetamine to Maui carried by couriers or shipped by mail from Las Vegas, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release.
"For Maui Police Department, it was rather a significant case, and they devoted a lot of resources to it," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Kawahara, who prosecuted the case.
Kawahara said efforts by Maui police, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement agencies in this and other cases have "stemmed the flow of drugs to Hawaii," and the prosecution of these kinds of cases serves as a deterrence.
He said that strenuous law enforcement efforts have done much to curb the supply of methamphetamine to Hawaii.
Nathaniel "Bobo" Russell and his wife, Pamela Mahelani Russell, oversaw the Maui distribution network, and will be the last of the 10 to be sentenced Nov. 20 and Jan. 8, respectively.
Others previously sentenced include former Maui police officer Reed Kaleookalani Aken Sr., 37. He served as a courier for the money to Las Vegas and drugs to Maui and was sentenced to four years.
Also on the Maui end of the drug ring and their sentences are: John Corniel Jr., 42, 14 years; Charles R.K. Farren, 38, 10 1/2 years; Roger Manu Bates, 34, 16 1/2 years; and Cyrinah L. Aken, 38, 7 1/4 years.
Those who assisted Gomez in Las Vegas were Timothy James Sullivan, 37, who received six years, 10 months, and Gilbert Gomez Jr., 37, eight years.
Law enforcement agents recovered in early May 2005 1.4 pounds of ice from Bates on Maui, intercepted 2 pounds of the drug on Reed Aken at Los Angeles International Airport in late May and 4 pounds of meth sent by Gomez to Maui in June 2005. The investigation revealed the Maui group was buying up to seven pounds of methamphetamine from Gomez in late May 2005.
U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo commended the "superlative joint investigation" conducted by DEA and Maui police assisted by Los Angeles International Airport narcotics agents.