Leprosy patient awaits trial


POSTED: Friday, March 05, 2010

The youngest Hansen's disease patient at Kalaupapa can live on Molokai and receive medical treatments on Oahu while awaiting trial in federal court for drug trafficking.

A U.S. magistrate judge ordered Norbert Palea released from custody yesterday on a $25,000 unsecured signature bond.

Federal authorities arrested Palea, 68, after they said they found methamphetamine in a box Palea sent from Honolulu to Kalaupapa last week.

They said they also found methamphetamine in Palea's checked luggage at a Pacific Wings air terminal in Honolulu last November but did not arrest him. They said he told them he was transporting the box to Kalaupapa for someone else.

He pleaded guilty in 1993 to promotion of commercial marijuana and dangerous drugs. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.