Recording artist sentenced in 'ice' case


POSTED: Friday, October 17, 2008

A local recording artist was sentenced yesterday to 15 years in prison for distributing eight ounces of crystal methamphetamine.

U.S. District Chief Judge Helen Gillmor sentenced Aziel Al Toeaina, 30, on one count of conspiring to distribute crystal methamphetamine. Gillmor also sentenced Toeaina to 10 years of supervised release.

Gillmor described the crime as serious and recommended Toeaina undergo drug treatment.

During sentencing, Toeaina apologized for his actions.

“;I'm very remorseful and very ashamed,”; he said. He also apologized to his fiancee and his children. Some of his family members were seated in the courtroom gallery.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Beverly Sameshima said Toeaina has a significant criminal history that includes a 1998 felony drug conviction. “;He hasn't learned from his brushes with the law,”; Sameshima said.

Federal agents arrested an individual on Dec. 19 for possession of two ounces of the drug. The individual cooperated with agents and told them the source was Toeaina, also known as “;Zee”; and “;A-Z.”; The individual provided further information to agents on the times and locations where he or she paid Toeaina a substantial amount of money in exchange for eight ounces of crystal methamphetamine.

Toeaina was arrested later that day at a Salt Lake apartment, where federal agents seized $29,960 in cash in three unwrapped packages of Hawaiian Host chocolates, according to court documents. The packages were found in a plastic Longs shopping bag that agents found next to a camouflage bag, which Toeaina admitted was his. Based on court documents, a narcotics dog sniffed the presence of illegal narcotics on the currency.

Toeaina was selected as the 2006 Hawaii Music Awards winner in the R&B category with his hip-hop album, “;Tha3LOGY.”;

In June he pleaded guilty under a plea agreement where the federal government agreed to dismiss a count in the indictment that the singer knowingly and intentionally distributed the drug.

After the sentencing, Sameshima said she believed the judge's sentence was fair and reasonable.

Attorney Alvin Nishimura, who represented Toeaina, said, “;Obviously, we wanted it lower than that. In light of his record, I think we were fortunate to get 15 (years).”;

  In June 2003, Toeaina was indicted on state charges for firing shots at former University of Hawaii football player Tupu Alualu in the parking lot of Ala Moana Center. He was acquitted in December 2006 of all charges, including second-degree attempted murder.