Newswatch

Newswatch

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Wednesday, November 4, 1998


Comedian begins
sentence for sports
betting operation

By Crystal Kua
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

Hawaii comedian Mel Cabang reported to a federal prison in Nevada on Monday to begin serving a sentence on gambling convictions.

Officials at the Federal Prison Camp Nellis said yesterday that Cabang reported to the minimum-security prison, located about 15 miles from Las Vegas, about an hour before his court-ordered 3 p.m. deadline.

Cabang in June pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit illegal gambling, money laundering and interstate transportation of betting paraphernalia, all crimes that were related to an illegal sports betting operation that he ran from 1991 to 1995.

Federal prosecutors said Cabang ran one of the largest betting operations in the state, in which gross profits could exceed $2,000 a day during football and basketball season.

A federal judge in September sentenced Cabang to 51 months in prison and granted Cabang's request to serve his time at the Nevada prison, which is built on property belonging to Nellis Air Force Base.

Although Cabang had to forfeit his Kalama Valley home and his car, he didn't have to forfeit his condo in Las Vegas, where his wife lives.

The prison has an inmate capacity of 415, and about 60 percent of the prisoners have been convicted of drug offenses.

Other inmates are serving time for crimes that include fraud and income tax evasion.

After serving his prison term, Cabang will be on supervised release for three years.



Leeward coast H-1 drivers
face detour

Late night travelers from the Leeward coast Sunday night will need more time to reach their destinations because all Honolulu-bound traffic will be detoured off the H-1 freeway for a construction project.

The lanes will be closed between the Kunia interchange and the Paiwa interchange from 10 p.m. Sunday until 4 a.m. Monday.

Motorists will be required to exit at Kunia, detour along Farrington Highway and may re-enter at Paiwa.

Waianae-bound traffic will encounter a similar detour Monday night. Motorists in the Leeward lanes will be required to exit at Paiwa interchange from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. They may return to the freeway at Kunia.



Kauai OKs lifting dollar amount for nonbid work

LIHUE -- Kauai voters have approved a measure to raise the monetary threshold for formal bidding procedures, and rejected a proposal to increase public-sector representation on the Kauai Water Board.

Voters agreed to increase from $4,000 to $25,000 the amount county government can spend for goods and services without seeking formal bids.

The amendment to the County Charter was backed by Mayor Maryanne Kusaka as a way to streamline county purchasing and save money.

Water department officials say formal bidding costs the department $3,000 for each purchase. Savings in that department would total 400 hours of staff time and $12,500 in administrative expenses per year, said Water Board Manager Ernest Lau.

A second amendment, to increase Board of Water Supply members from seven to nine, with the mayor appointing six members instead of four, was defeated: 57 percent voted against the measure while 34 percent voted in favor.

Maui OKs nonpartisan Council, mayoral votes

WAILUKU -- Republican Councilwoman Charmaine Tavares says she's happy a Maui County Charter amendment approved yesterday by voters will allow nonpartisan elections for the mayor and Council in the future.

Tavares said the amendment, which she helped to draft, gives voters the choice of selecting individuals and not being locked into having to choose from a political party list in the primary election.

"I think it's good. Now, the person will have a choice in the beginning," she said.

The amendment requires an initial election in September, followed in November by a runoff of the two candidates with the highest votes in respective races.

Ryther Barbin, the Democratic Party chairman for Maui County, says the amendment favors incumbents and destroys the chances of a third political party, such as the Green Party, from appear on the November ballot.

Voters also approved a Charter amendment that requires a special election if a vacancy occurs in a Council seat with an unexpired term of 15 months or more.

The Council would appoint the person to fill the vacancy if it were less than 15 months.

Big Isle woman is lone Green Party winner

HILO -- Green Party candidate Julie Jacobson pulled off a surprise defeat of Hawaii County Council incumbent Republican John Santangelo to become the only elected Green in the state.

Jacobson's victory took place in the rural upper Puna-Kau-South Kona district, which twice elected the state's only previous Green winner, Keiko Bonk, in 1992 and 1994. Bonk served as Jacobson's campaign manager.

A three-way split of the vote apparently aided Jacobson, who gained 40 percent of the vote, to Santangelo's 37 percent, and Democrat Steve Oyama's 20 percent.Jacobson said area residents want to preserve a rural lifestyle and seek small, diversified business opportunities, not a single big business economic generator.

She believes Santangelo was hurt by his support for a large prison in the community. The state has since moved the proposal to the Kulani area, but she still opposes it as too large.

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Police, Fire, Courts

Police/Fire

By Star-Bulletin staff

Three teens suspected in pair of robberies

Police believe the three teens who robbed and shot a 12-year-old boy with a pellet gun on Monday are the same suspects in a pellet-gun robbery yesterday.

Yesterday, two 15-year-old boys were walking on Keeaumoku Street to Ala Moana Center when they were confronted by three boys at 4:45 p.m., police said. The three suspects demanded money from the pair.

After the boys refused, two suspects drew out a pellet gun and shot one boy in the neck.

On Monday, a 12-year-old boy was robbed and shot in the stomach with a pellet gun in Moiliili.

No arrests have been made.

Shoplifting suspect, store owner brawl

A homeless man was arrested yesterday in Kailua after allegedly stealing a pack of cigarettes.

The suspect, 38, was seen earlier in the day trying to shoplift some cigarettes, police said. He returned and reportedly stole a pack at 6:20 p.m.

When the store owner told the man to put the cigarettes back, the suspect punched him.

The 38-year-old store owner then punched the suspect, breaking his nose.

The suspect was treated at Castle Hospital and later booked for second-degree robbery.

In other news . . .

bullet The 23-year-old Honolulu man who was killed when his motorcycle crashed into a guardrail on Monday night has been identified by the medical examiner's office as Willie Lavender Jr.

Lavender crashed near the connection of Likelike Highway and the loop that leads to Kahekili Highway.

He had been previously identified as a Kaneohe Marine; however, military officials said today he was the spouse of an Army soldier.

Tapa

THE COURTS

Kauai couple sentenced
in heroin-dealing case

A Kauai couple with ties to a murdered heroin dealer were sentenced this week to federal prison for conspiring to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin on Kauai.

U.S. District Judge Alan Kay on Monday sentenced John Peinert, 46, to nine months in prison and Peinert's wife, Linda Ann, to 18 months in prison.

Both husband and wife cooperated with authorities but John Peinert did a little more, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Sorenson said.

Peinert testified in the murder trial of Francisco Davalos and Hector Lopez, who were convicted in federal court in the July 1997 shooting deaths of brothers Armando and Arturo Renteria-Hernandez.

Arturo Renteria-Hernandez used couriers to transport 5- to 7-ounce quantities of black-tar heroin to Hawaii from Los Angeles and other areas.

Peinert helped to set up heroin dealing operations on Kauai for a Mexican national who has been affiliated with Renteria-Hernandez, Sorenson said.

"John Peinert also went to Los Angeles and worked for us," Sorenson said. "His work resulted in individuals being prosecuted."

Authorities raided the Peinert home in April 1997 and Linda Peinert returned home from the mainland on that day with more than 100 grams of heroin in her handbag, Peinert said.



Convicted felon given time with newborn son

A man who was allowed a 31/2-month reprieve from prison so that he could spend time with his newborn child has begun serving his time.

Jonnaven Monalim, 28, was sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison with a mandatory six-month minimum term for felonies that included an assault on a 17-year-old boy. The Hawaii Paroling Authority will decide how much time he will have to spend in prison before he is eligible for parole.

Circuit Judge Sandra Simms came under criticism for delaying the start of Monalim's prison term until yesterday so Monalim could spend time with his baby son.

Simms ruling outraged prosecutors and the mother of the victim.

But Monalim's lawyer, William Harrison, said his client was appreciative of the chance.

"He felt that this was very important to him," Harrison said after his client turned himself in Monday morning.

Harrison said the time Monalim spent with his son will give him incentive to do well in prison so he can be released as soon as possible.

Condo owners sue cityover two mudslides

Makaha Valley Towers Association of Apartment Owners has filed suit in Circuit Court over two mudslides that have damaged the condo, seeking damages from the city.

The property at 84-740 Kili Drive was damaged by mudslides during times of heavy rain from a mountain behind it Nov. 14, 1996, and Jan. 19, 1997.

The suit says the defendants, the Board of Water Supply and the city, own and are responsible for maintenance, control and use of the nearby property. The Board of Water Supply purchased the property to prevent further development of the land and for the purpose of a Makaha Valley watershed, the suit adds.

It claims defendants' failure to prevent the mudslides was the cause of injuries and damages and that they are responsible for maintaining natural and artificial drainage ways for runoff.

Before the winter of 1996, drainage ways were altered and the natural runoff flow was changed, the suit says.

Boulders, dirt and other debris flowed from the city property and across Makaha Valley Towers site Nov. 14, 1996, and again Jan. 19, 1997, caused by negligence in both cases, the suit says.

Man faces charges in prostitution scheme

Antonio Torres, also known as Brandon Wright, Smiley Hurricane and Beano, faces a federal charge that he transported a female under age 18 here for prostitution.

A 16-year-old female reported to federal agents last week she met Torres in Tacoma, Wash., in September. At this time, Torres was alleged to have had two other females, ages 15 and 18, engaged in prostitution for him in Tacoma.

The 16-year-old said in October that Torres told all three females they were going to travel and that he required them to be prostitutes in Tacoma to earn enough for travel, with the first leg of the trip being Hawaii.

The three females flew here in mid-October, and Torres got them jobs to entertain adult males at an establishment near Ala Moana Center.

The affidavit says the 16-year-old told agents she was asked to watch pornographic videos in a private video room with males. Prices were $40 to watch with a topless hostess and $60 with a nude hostess.

She further said she practiced prostitution for Torres here.


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