Newswatch



By Star-Bulletin Staff

Monday, March 16, 1998

DEA agents seize cash,
crystal meth in busts

By Rod Ohira, Star-Bulletin

Drug agents seized 13-1/2 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and $50,000 cash from an undercover operation last week.

Four men, ages 26 to 35, were arrested at different locations Thursday and Friday nights by Drug Enforcement Administration, state narcotics and police officers.

"It's a significant bust that indicates there is a lot of 'ice' around," said DEA agent George Clemente, who supervised the operation.

The street value of crystal meth recovered is estimated at $2 million, Clemente said today.

Three people were arrested Thursday in a parking lot on Nimitz Highway after selling eight ounces of crystal meth to an officer, Clemente said.

A deal had also been set up Thursday to purchase more ice the following night from a 26-year-old man, who was arrested in a parking lot at Pearl Kai Shopping Center.

Officers then raided a West Loch home and recovered more drugs, capping a five-month investigation.

The suspects are expected to be charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute crystal meth.

Four vehicles were also seized for forfeiture.

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Abercrombie: Bosnia needs U.S. troops

By Pete Pichaske, Phillips News Service

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Neil Abercrombie returned last week from a four-day trip to Bosnia and said he is convinced that U.S. troops are performing an essential, lifesaving role in that troubled region.

But because troops cannot remain there indefinitely, said Abercrombie, he will push for creating a more just, professional and multiethnic local police force to keep peace when Americans leave.

"The police in the past have been paramilitary thugs," said Abercrombie.

"They need police and judicial reform. That's where I'll put my efforts."

Abercrombie, D-Honolulu, was part of a 10-person congressional delegation that flew to Bosnia to get a firsthand look at an area where Congress will soon have to make some crucial decisions.

U.S. troops are due to leave Bosnia in June, and President Clinton must inform Congress of his plans for the region by May 15.

During the tour -- which included stops in Sarajevo, Tuzlo and Brcko -- the group talked to local and American troops ranging from top commanders to foot soldiers.

Abercrombie said he talked to a young enlisted man from Pearl City, Godofredo Pajimula, who told him, "If it weren't for us, there wouldn't be any peace here."

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Brush, forest fires make
east Hawaii a hot spot

By Rod Thompson, Star-Bulletin

HILO -- Firefighters planned to renew efforts this morning to control several brush and forest fires that hit east Hawaii areas over the weekend.

The most dangerous was a 150-acre fire in the forested, thinly populated Leilani Estates subdivision 20 miles south of Hilo.

The fire, which began Saturday, came within a few feet of at least one home and forced the temporary evacuation of dozens of residents.

Although the fire was not declared contained or controlled last night, it did not spread.

Thirteen firefighters monitored it through the night.

A second fire of 150 acres moved through grass and brush above the Punaluuu Golf Course in the Kau District, starting Saturday.

Unlike the Leilani fire, no buildings were threatened, but that fire, too, remained technically out of control, primarily because of a hot spot burning in rough terrain, the fire department said.

A third fire started in a pile of macadamia nut husks at Pahala and spread to 20 acres of surrounding ground. It was still smoldering this morning as six firefighters and a Department of Public Works crew monitored it.

A fourth fire in the Volcano community was declared sufficiently safe for crews not to have to monitor it through the night, the department said.

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Press club 'honors' Cayetano for secrecy

HILO -- The Big Island Press Club has given Gov. Ben Cayetano its annual Lava Tube Award for being the individual who did the most in the past year to hinder openness in government.

The club cited Cayetano's call for closing the Office of Information Practices, which has declared that many government documents and meetings should be open to the public.

The "lava tube" name of the award refers to a dark place where the light of public knowledge does not shine.

Cayetano's spokeswoman, Kathleen Racuya-Markrich, said the governor would not respond.

The press club cited a series of secret meetings held by Cayetano's administration, including the governor's Economic Revitalization Task Force, which met behind closed doors in August.

The club made several "Dishonorable Mentions," including the Legislature, Sens. Brian Kanno and Suzanne Chun Oakland, the Office of Information Practices and Hawaii County Deputy Prosecutor Kay Iopa.

The club gave a Torch of Light award to monthly newsletter Environment Hawaii and citizens group Common Cause Hawaii. Another award went to District Court Judge Sandra Schutte.

USS Cushing and crew head for new home port

The Spruance-class destroyer USS Cushing and its crew of 355 sailors were to depart Pearl Harbor for the final time this morning as the vessel heads for its new home port in Yokosuka, Japan.

The 563-foot Cushing arrived here in 1992 and made four deployments from Pearl Harbor to the Western Pacific and to the Persian Gulf as part of Pearl Harbor's 40-ship fleet.

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Police/Fire


By Star-Bulletin staff

7-Eleven clerk KO'd in Ewa Beach robbery

A male clerk knocked unconscious during an early morning robbery today at 7-Eleven's Ewa Beach store is in fair condition at Queen's Hospital.

Police are looking for two men who allegedly entered the store at 2:50 a.m. and stole two bottles of wine. While fleeing from the store at 91-924 Makule Road, one of the suspects allegedly punched the clerk. The suspects, who fled on foot, are still at large.

Girl reports assault by sister's boyfriend

Police are investigating a complaint from a high school student who said she was sexually assaulted last night by her sister's boyfriend.

The 17-year-old girl accompanied the suspect, 18, to the parking lot of Pearl City High School to resolve a problem about "bad things being said about him," police said.

The man then allegedly threatened her with a knife and gun, demanding sex.

The suspect was arrested at his residence at 10:30 p.m.

In an unrelated case, police arrested a 34-year-old man Saturday for first-degree sexual assault and violating a temporary restraining order against his wife.

The temporary restraining order allows the woman, 30, and her husband to reside together but restricts his involvement with her, police said.

At about 3:45 p.m. Saturday, the man allegedly forced her to have sex, police said.

Visitor, 80, pulled from ocean, dies at Queen's

An 80-year-old man from Maine died yesterday at Queen's Hospital after lifeguards pulled him unconscious from waters in back of the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki.

The man, who was seen floating in the water at 9 a.m., was pronounced dead at 11:17 a.m.

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