Dealer vows to change
An outfielder on the Hawaii Pacific University softball team, Kellie A. Nishikida was named to the Pacific West all-conference first team her freshman year.
She had the love and support of family, friends and had never been in trouble before.
Even her high school principal said she stood out as a gifted athlete with good grades in a student body of 2,000.
So when Nishikida was arrested this year for distributing Ecstasy tablets that were to be sold to military service members, it stunned just about everyone who knows her.
Yesterday the 21-year-old apologized to those who were affected by her actions.
"When I was dealing drugs, I didn't realize how much it would affect myself, the team, my family and the community," she said. "After everything happened I was really embarrassed and ashamed," she said, noting that it was difficult for her face people in public.
While Nishikida faced between 37 and 46 months in prison under federal advisory sentencing guidelines, U.S. District J. Michael Seabright sentenced her to five years' probation with six months' home confinement.
"I look at you and I don't believe you will recommit. ... I believe your remorse is genuine and you want to better yourself," Seabright said, adding that her case is unusual given her background. "You had it all -- parents who loved you, athletic abilities, the ability to go to college."
But something led her to become involved in drugs, and she began using Ecstasy and marijuana, he said. "You need to commit yourself to stay sober, away from clubs, and understand that there is a weakness you have to fight against."
Special assistant U.S. Attorney Gabriel Colwell had argued for a 12-month prison term, calling the offense "extremely repugnant." Nishikida was "selling poison to the community, including military service members during times of war," he said.
"These were not individual user amounts she was selling; these were distribution amounts to other distributors," Colwell said.
According to court documents, Nishikida sold 110 Ecstasy pills of MDMA to fellow defendants on Jan. 13 for $1,650. They in turn were to sell them to service members. The next day, she agreed to supply an additional 60 pills for $1,000 but was arrested by federal agents as she waited in her car in the parking lot of the Pearl City Wal-Mart.
Defense attorney Howard Luke said Nishikida was relieved that she will not be required to serve any jail time.
He attributed her lapse in judgment to peer pressure and the prevalence and availability of drugs at nightclubs frequented by young adults.
Since her arrest, Nishikida has continued to work, enrolled in a substance abuse program and begun volunteering at a nonprofit organization that assists female victims of domestic violence, Luke said.
During the probation, Nishikida is prohibited from drinking alcohol and cannot enter Schofield Barracks. She must also perform 300 hours of community service.