POSTED: Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Postal worker faces jail for tip-off

A U.S. Postal Service employee is facing up to a year in jail for tipping off a drug dealer that he was under federal investigation.

Kenwood Alapa, 52, pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to disclosing confidential information he learned while on the job at the Kapaa Post Office in August 2007.

The charge is a misdemeanor.

At the time, Alapa was a part-time flexible clerk and acting supervisor. He has been a postal employee since June 1993.

The information Alapa disclosed was that a U.S. postal inspector had requested an address verification of convicted drug dealer Edward Holland.

Alapa said he suggested Holland may have been under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service.

Holland pleaded guilty last February to charges that he ran a large-scale marijuana growing operation on state land on Kauai.

Federal, state and county law enforcement officials seized 5,922 marijuana plants at the foot of Mount Waialeale.

Because of the amount of drugs involved, Holland faced a mandatory life prison term.

But a federal judge sentenced him last September to 12 years in prison because he assisted law enforcement in his own case and those of others, including Alapa's.

Holland spent four years in federal prison for a 1991 conviction for possessing 97 pounds of marijuana and for mailing 2,242 grams.

Wahiawa car crash kills 1, injures 2

A 29-year-old man became Oahu's fifth traffic fatality after a single-vehicle crash in Wahiawa last night.

At about 9:20 p.m., the victim was driving a 2001 Volkswagen Golf east on California Avenue near the Iliwai Drive intersection when it lost control and struck a guardrail.

The driver, from Wahiawa, was pronounced dead at the scene. The front passenger, a 28-year-old man was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition, but has since been treated and released. The rear passenger, a 24-year-old man, went to Tripler Medical Center in good condition.

The car struck with such force that it severed the guardrail which landed in the roadway, police said. Two vehicles hit it, causing minor damage to both.

The Golf came to rest between the guardrail and the fence at the Wahiawa Botanical Gardens. The car suffered severe damage to its driver's side and front end.

Police said they believe speed and alcohol were factors.

The victim's name has not yet been released.

This is the fifth traffic fatality this year, compared with one at this time last year.

On New Year's Day, there were three separate fatal traffic accidents.

On Sunday, a 50-year-old man died from his injuries after his bicycle was struck by a vehicle near Turtle Bay Resort Saturday night.