Maui prison guards
face drug charges

WAILUKU >> Four people who served as Maui prison guards have been indicted by a federal grand jury with drug distribution offenses.

The alleged offenses took place between March 2000 and November 2001.

U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo Jr. said yesterday that the indictments involving crystal methamphetamine are the result of a lengthy undercover investigation initiated by the Maui Police Department and later joined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The state Department of Public Safety also assisted.

"I'm glad it's been brought to fruition," Kubo said.

Named in the indictments are Todd Frias, 36, Michael "Midnight" Rivera, 40, Shelley Fernandez, 30, and Walter Kan Hai, 40.

Kubo said the four were employed as corrections officers at the time, but none of the "ice" distribution charged occurred inside the prison.

Also indicted was Joseph Kahana, 33, who was an inmate on work release at the time of the alleged offense.

Frias and Rivera are no longer guards. Fernandez still works at the prison, and Kan Hai is on workers' compensation leave.

If convicted, each defendant could be sentenced to a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a fine of $1 million.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Louis Bracco said no date has been set for the defendants' initial court appearance before a federal magistrate in Honolulu. Bracco declined to comment on whether there will be more indictments against guards.


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