Friday, November 12, 1999

Maui officer died in
area too remote
for rescue

Radio communications were too
difficult for the heart attack victim
to receive timely help

By Gary Kubota


WAILUKU -- Law enforcement officials had difficulty getting medical help for a Maui police vice officer who suffered a heart attack while on a drug surveillance in rural Kanaio and later died.

Deputy Police Chief Charles Hall said the remoteness of the area and poor police radio communications hampered efforts to get help for Officer Cerilo A. Agarano.

Agarano, 45, was hiking in the Kanaio area when he lost consciousness while on duty at 5:15 a.m. on Tuesday and failed to respond to medical attention.

He died Tuesday night at Maui Memorial Hospital.

"Radio communication in that particular area is difficult," Hall said.

"Because of its remoteness, it was not accessible to medical."

Hall said law enforcement officers were trying to revive Agarano at the same time as they were taking him out of the Kanaio area.

Hall said he doesn't know how long they took to get medical aid to Agarano.

"I know it's not as short as we would like it to be," Hall said.

Agarano died while on a vice surveillance operation that resulted in the arrest of a suspect and the shutdown of a laboratory manufacturing crystal methamphetamine.

"We did find a significant indication of a clandestine lab," Hall said.

Arrested yesterday was Theodore Wender, charged with manufacturing illegal drugs and conspiracy.

Wender was turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for processing in Honolulu.

He will appear in U.S. District Court to face federal charges.

Agarano, who had been in law enforcement for 20 years, is survived by his wife and three children.

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