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Major police bust on Maui fuels concerns about use of ‘ghost guns’

Last Thursday, MPD's Crime reduction unit, and special response team executed a search warrant at a home in Kihei.
Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 7:39 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 25, 2022 at 10:25 PM HST
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KIHEI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A big bust on Maui is fueling concerns about the rise of “ghost guns” — or untraceable firearms.

The Maui Police Department’s Crime Reduction Unit and its Special Response Team raided a home in Kihei on Thursday morning and found crystal meth, fentanyl, heroine and other illegal drugs.

They also discovered a 3D printer and parts needed to make ghost guns.

“Ghost guns are unserialized and untraceable firearms that can be bought online and assembled at home. They are often sold through ghost gun kits, which include all of the parts and often the equipment necessary to build these weapons at home,” said said MPD Assistant Chief Randy Esperanza.

“These kits are widely available and can be purchased by anyone, including prohibited purchasers, such as domestic abusers and gun traffickers without a background check.”

Three people were arrested in the raid on drugs and weapons offenses:

  • Kaelen Starmer, 29,
  • Allison Hethcote, 59
  • and Kailani Rush, 26

Esperanza said there has been an uptick in ghost guns being found on Maui.

“We have recovered a total of 16 ghost guns, compared to 11 ghost guns recovered in 2021. So there is a definite increase increase in ghost guns, as we are still only in the month of April,” Esperanza said.

He added that with the rise in gun violence on Oahu, MPD is seeking to be proactive.

“As a department, we are doing whatever we can to get in front of the gun violence in order to keep our community and off-island visitors safe. The more illegal guns that we seized, means less chance that these weapons can be used in senseless violent acts of crime,” he said.

Starmer’s bail is set at $252,250. Hethcote and Rush have bail set at $185,000.

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