Kaneohe man gets 14 years in drug case
A Kaneohe "ice" trafficker who was on the U.S. Marshal Service's Top 15 Most Wanted List and eluded capture for six years was sentenced yesterday to 14 years in federal prison.
Senior U.S. District Judge Alan Kay granted the government's request to sentence Reinier Kraan, 42, on the lower end of sentencing guidelines for the substantial assistance he provided in the prosecution of three inmates and a prison guard at the federal detention center for smuggling in contraband. Kraan was facing between 27 and 37 years in prison.
Kraan pleaded guilty earlier to attempted possession with intent to distribute 2 1/2 pounds of crystal methamphetamine in 1998 and being a felon in possession of 45 firearms. He also pleaded guilty to growing more than 900 marijuana plants in a sophisticated indoor growing system at a Las Vegas home in July 2003 and a misdemeanor charge of possessing false ID documents.
The Hawaii case stemmed from "ice" that Kraan picked up from a person in the parking lot of Pearlridge Center in July 1998. He fled as police and federal agents closed in, and managed to elude capture by leading them on a high-speed chase from Aiea to the H-1 freeway, onto Likelike and to the Windward side, where his van was found abandoned, engine still running.
Authorities went to his Mapele Place home and uncovered a cache of weapons including 37 rifles, handguns, plastic explosives, body armor and armor-piercing and incendiary bullets.
The Hawaii Fugitive Task Force tracked Kraan to California and then to a Las Vegas home, where they discovered an elaborate indoor marijuana growing operation with plants worth an estimated $1 million. He was captured the next day at an Idaho motel.
Defense attorney Richard Gronna said Kraan has made an effort to change his life since his arrest and put himself at great risk by cooperating with the investigation against the inmates and prison guard.
Prison guard Akoni Kapihe was accused of bringing into the prison methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia in concealed containers that he obtained from relatives of inmates Robert Kupahu and Keoki Astronomo in 2005.
Michael Kawahara, assistant U.S. attorney, said the testimony Kraan would have provided played a large part in their decision to plead guilty. Because Kraan put himself at risk for coming forward and because of the difficulty in prosecuting these cases, a reduced sentence was warranted, Kawahara said.
Kraan apologized to the court and his family yesterday for all the trouble he has caused.
Kraan is also awaiting a hearing in state Circuit Court on the state's motion to revoke his probation on the previous state cases and have him re-sentenced.