18 arrested in beach park drug sweep
Police say low-level dealers were targeted at six Waianae sites because of complaints
Police arrested 18 people suspected of 48 drug offenses yesterday during a four-hour drug sweep of six Leeward Coast beach parks.
These low-level drug arrests were not targeting the homeless who live on the beach, police said, although about seven of the 18 who were arrested are homeless.
"Being homeless is not a crime -- dealing drugs is," said Capt. Kerry Inouye of the Honolulu Police Department's Narcotics/Vice Division.
"This operation was conducted in response to complaints from the public, and is the culmination of a two-month investigation," he said at a news conference at the main police station.
Inouye said many residents call to complain they don't want to go to the beaches "because when I go there, I see people dealing drugs."
While law enforcement drug operations often focus on high-level drug dealing, these were street-level investigations, Inouye said. "Every small drug deal is a part of a big drug deal," he said.
Police said they plan to continue running similar operations at unannounced times and places.
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Honolulu Police Narcotics/Vice Division Lt. David Passmore, Maj. Kevin Lima and Capt. Kerry Inouye referred to a map detailing the six Leeward District parks where yesterday's drug bust operation took place. Eighteen people were arrested, and eight charged with felonies.
About 75 undercover officers -- mostly with the Narcotics/Vice Division and assisted by the Kapolei Crime Reduction Unit -- made the arrests at Lahilahi, Keaau, Pokai Bay, Maili, Depot and Tracks beach parks.
Inouye said drug dealers rely on buyers knowing where to find them, so the busts make it difficult to rely on that information.
Police suspect most of the drugs are "smuggled in either through packaging or body carries."
Of the 18 arrested, authorities charged the following eight: Daniel Holbron, 45; Walter Bernard, 19; Keith Kaimana Kailiehu, 45; Karen L. Kaahu, 39; Robert Morris, 57; Edmund K. Yaw; Alfred Andrew Nacionales Jr., 39; and Rodney Davis, 26.
Police are seeking charges on seven others.
Charges include methamphetamine trafficking (20 cases), a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison; promotion of a dangerous drug; promotion of a detrimental drug; possession of drug paraphernalia and bench warrants.
Police said they conducted their sweeps in two phases. The first included drug buys by undercover officers at the beach parks, resulting in seven immediate arrests for methamphetamine trafficking and related offenses.
Police recovered 40 grams of crystal meth with a street value of $5,500, 24 grams of marijuana valued at $500 to $600, and $2,313 in cash.
The second phase involved a roundup of drug dealers with prior offenses, in which undercover officers made buys. Eight were taken into custody.
Lt. David Passmore said police have received numerous drug complaints from the Leeward Coast, "probably more along the Leeward Coast than any other area on the island," and not just at beaches.
TO REPORT DRUG ACTIVITY
Police urge the public to report any illegal drug activity by calling 529-3101 or going online at www.honolulupd.org to the Narcotics/Vice pages, and selecting the suspicious activity report form.