Authorities Round Up Suspected Olomea Bridge Drug Dealers - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Authorities Round Up Suspected Olomea Bridge Drug Dealers

Keoni Kawelo Keoni Kawelo

By Minna Sugimoto

KALIHI (KHNL) -- There's a bridge in Kalihi that's known to be the site of crystal methamphetamine sales. But it's much quieter on the Olomea Street bridge, after authorities began arresting more than a dozen suspected ice dealers.

People who work near the bridge say the drug dealing there is blatant.

Keoni Kawelo of Paradise Florist carefully selects flowers, preps their stems, and adds them to his floral arrangement. His work area, full of bright colors, is in stark contrast with the gloomy, trash-filled canal located right outside.

"It's been getting bad lately," Kawelo said. "A lot of homeless and drug dealing, gambling."

Sources say crystal meth sales are common in the area. Addicts come to the Olomea Street bridge, and adjacent Kohou and Kokea Streets, to get their fix.

Kawelo says the criminal activity hurts the company's walk-in business.

"As anything else, if you see an ugly neighborhood with that kind of dealings, then, yeah, I would think they would stay away," he said about potential customers. "We do get a lot of phone calls, which is a plus for us."

But the bridge area now seems deserted, after a round-up of drug suspects. Sources say police are hunting down 18 suspected ice dealers in all.

"I'm glad. I'm glad," Kawelo said.

Sources say 15 of the 18 suspects face federal prosecution because the sales allegedly took place within 1,000 feet of a school.

"I don't even want to let my kids walk to 7-Eleven by themselves, so maybe now they can," Kawelo said. "I'm glad because the community is, we know everyone around here."

The US Attorney's office plans to discuss the drug operation at a news conference Wednesday.

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