POSTED: Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Guilty pleas pre-empt federal trials

One former and two current Kaneohe Marines will not stand trial in federal court for allegedly selling stolen military night-vision devices to customers overseas.

Ryan Mathers pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiring to sell and exporting ITT Nightquest PVS-14 Gen 3 Night Vision Monoculars. A federal judge is scheduled to sentence Mathers in October.

The night-vision device is a controlled item under the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations and can be exported only by someone who has a license and is registered with the U.S. State Department.

Mathers is charged with selling six of the devices to a customer in Japan in June and July 2008.

Former Marine Ronald William Abram is scheduled to plead guilty Friday. Abram is charged with helping Mathers send the devices to Japan.

Charles Carper is scheduled to plead guilty next month. Carper is charged with selling one night-vision scope to a customer in Hong Kong and one to a customer in Poland.

On Oct. 28, 2008, federal law enforcement officials arrested Mathers and Abram at Ala Moana Center, where they had arranged to sell eight night-vision devices for $20,000. They arrested three other Kaneohe Marines, Jason Alan Flegm, Brendon Schultz and Mark Allen Vaught, who allegedly were acting as lookouts.

Authorities later arrested Carper and a seventh Marine, Joshua Vaughn.

The government dismissed charges against Flegm, Schultz, Vaughn and Vaught after they agreed to be prosecuted by the Marine Corps. The federal prosecutor described them as minor players.



Coroner says robber later killed himself

The man police say robbed a pharmacy on the Big Island and then killed himself Friday was identified as 37-year-old Raleigh Freitas of Waimea.

The manner of death was classified as a suicide, according to the coroner.

Freitas robbed a pharmacy on Kawaihae Road at knifepoint Friday and stole drugs, police said.

Police arrested his wife, a 34-year-old Waimea woman, who was inside the pharmacy attempting to fill a prescription minutes before the robbery occurred.

While searching for Freitas, police received a 911 call of a man with a gunshot wound at his home. Officers found Freitas dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

His wife was released pending further investigation.


Outage almost blacks out graduations

Electric power was restored just before 3 p.m. to about 250 customers along Kapiolani Boulevard after a failure that threatened high school graduation ceremonies last night at Blaisdell Center.

Commencement exercises for Kalani and Kalaheo high schools were in jeopardy of being canceled after Blaisdell Center went dark at about 1 p.m. while Kalani seniors were rehearsing in the arena.

Sid Quintal, director of the city Department of Enterprise Services, said the center has a secondary power line, but it did not turn on after the primary line went dead. That trouble was traced to a faulty fuse.

The outage itself was due to a fault in an underground cable, said Hawaiian Electric Co. spokesman Darren Pai.