Five people arrested for smuggling pounds of almost pure meth into Hawaii

Ben's 10pm report: Five people arrested for smuggling pounds of almost pure meth into Hawaii

MAKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Five people are in federal custody accused of smuggling pounds of almost pure crystal methamphetamine into the state.

It took more than a year and a lot of legwork by the Honolulu Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

It started with complaints from neighbors who didn't like drug activity in a nearby park. More than a year later, people described as “major” players in the drug business are now in jail.

Federal court documents detail the charges against the five people accused of running a meth trafficking operation.

It all started in 2013, when neighbors complained to Honolulu police about drug activity at Cartwright Neighborhood Park in Makiki.

"Well, we're right next to Keeaumoku...we're gonna have crime, we just gotta be real vigilant on what to do," said Samuel Mitchell, Makiki Neighborhood Board Parks Chair

HPD started running surveillance which led them to an apartment complex on Kinau Street. It didn't take long for them to realize that a man, Samoa Lefiti, was "an important part of a Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) operating in the Honolulu area."

The court documents go on to say he was "the main Source of Supply (SOS) to multiple mid-level drug dealers."

Police also identified Larry Sylva and Tasha Hoover-Crawford as part of the alleged operation. Undercover operations also led law enforcement to Stacy Stender and Carl Kazanowski.

Last year, HPD and the FBI started bringing in the suspected players, reportedly finding large amounts of meth. Laboratory analysis determined the meth to be 98 to 99-percent pure.

"Five less drug dealers, better for us. But there's probably 100 more to replace them," said Mitchell.

Wire taps showed large amounts of meth was being flown in from California. Law enforcement intercepted a 5-pound package sent to a Honolulu Fed-Ex shipping center, other packages were sent via the post office.

This month, the feds charged all five with knowingly and intentionally conspiring to distribute meth.

Next step is taking this case to a grand jury for an indictment. A trial date has not been set yet.

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