Authorities detail charges against Kauai councilman, 11 others in meth ring investigation

Updated: Feb. 28, 2020 at 11:36 AM HST
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KAUAI, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Authorities from multiple agencies on Friday formally announced charges in a months-long investigation in a drug trafficking ring that led to the arrests of Kauai County councilman Arthur Brun and 11 others.

“Today’s charges send a very clear message to those who hold a position of trust in Hawaii, and that message is you are not above the law," said U.S. Attorney Kenji Price. “Neither position nor privilege will shield you from the accountability the justice requires.”

Arthur Brun, 48, was charged with drug trafficking, obstruction and firearms charges in a multi-count indictment unsealed Thursday.

The document alleges that Brun led a drug trafficking organization that distributed “substantial” amounts of methamphetamine on Kauai.

It says a Samoan gang supplied Brun with the drugs.

In addition to Brun, the others arrested include:

  • Maluelue Ume, 50
  • Kelvin Kauwila Kai, 38
  • Steven Keliikuli, 50
  • Kaniu Huihui, 39
  • Sheena Millare, 37
  • Efren Yanos, 57
  • Kirsten Makanoe Ayau, 36
  • Orlando Manguchei, 48
  • Robby Silva, 57
  • Haidee Sueyasu, 43
  • Phrystal Bacio, 37

“These 12 defendants conspired to pump methamphetamine into the community on Kauai during a period of at least June 2019 until January of this year,” Price said.

#LIVE: Authorities are holding a press conference following the arrests of councilman Arthur Brun and 11 others in connection with a drug trafficking ring. Read more: #HINews #HNN

Posted by Hawaii News Now on Friday, February 28, 2020

Multiple federal agencies and Kauai police worked together for months to investigate the drug trafficking ring.

Kauai police chief Todd Raybuck touted the “strong partnership” between KPD and federal law enforcement in working to “identify and apprehend those who poison our community with illicit drugs and exploit the addictions of others for financial gain.”

“From the first day I was sworn in as chief, and nearly every day after, members of this community made their message very clear to me: they are fed up with drug activity on Kauai,” Raybuck said. "Today, we stand here to say we are too. "

In a statement Thursday, Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami called the 12 arrests disappointing and said it highlights the broad impact of drugs in the community.

“Today’s arrests are another step forward in our fight against drugs, and holding individuals accountable for actions that have caused great pain to many and have direct repercussions to our entire community,” Kawakami said, adding that “no one ― in any capacity ― is above the law.”

In October, Brun was charged with striking a police officer with his car while fleeing a traffic stop.

Authorities said he led police on a car chase that lasted about 10 minutes.

The indictment describes that encounter, alleging that at the time of the traffic stop, Brun had a pound of crystal meth in his car.

“Brun resisted orders to stop, fled the scene, engaged the police in a high-speed chase, and threw the methamphetamine out of his car window while fleeing,” the indictment said.

“Unbeknownst to Brun, the Kauai Police Department recovered the methamphetamine.”

Also named in the indictment is Maluelue Malu, identified as a leader of the USO gang, and Orlando Manguchei ― Brun’s alleged strongman.

Federal authorities say that Brun attempted to supply Manguchei, a convicted felon, with an unregistered firearm.

“My friend coming from Oahu he like go hunt that’s why,” Brun is quoted as telling an unnamed co-conspirator in the federal indictment, as he allegedly sought a gun for Manguchei.

Brun Indictment by HNN on Scribd

This story will be updated.

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