Corrections officer suspected after major illegal aerial fireworks bust at Oahu jail

Nearly 100 pounds of illegal aerial fireworks were confiscated.
Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 4:52 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 3, 2023 at 6:30 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An investigation is underway after nearly 100 pounds of illegal aerial fireworks were confiscated from the mailroom at Oahu Community Correctional Center.

Sources say a corrections officer is suspected of having the boxes shipped to the jail using an inmate’s name.

Law enforcement sources tell HNN the jail was tipped off by an inspector from the U.S. Postal Service.

It appears this wasn’t the only suspicious delivery. But exactly what happened to the other boxes remains unclear.

On Dec. 6, records show three hefty packages were delivered to OCCC’s mailroom.

Sources say the boxes contained about 86 pounds of illegal fireworks. All of the parcels were addressed to the same inmate and appeared to have been shipped from Las Vegas, sources said.

Earlier that same day, mailroom staff reported being approached by a corrections officer looking for three boxes.

He allegedly claimed they were Christmas gifts he’d sent to the facility under an inmate’s name and he added that he’d picked up several other packages the day before.

“Part of me thinks it’s ingenious. The other part of me thinks it’s despicable,” said state Sen. Glenn Wakai, chair of the State Senate Committee.

“This is the epitome of the fox guarding the hen house. “I think at minimum during the investigation they should be put on leave. And certainly if there is found to be some type of criminal activity ― fired.”

It’s unclear if the corrections officer suspected in the case is still on the job.

The state Department of Public Safety says inmates are allowed to receive packages, but says there are strict guidelines and prior authorization is required.

HNN has confirmed DPS launched an internal investigation and notified police about the situation last Thursday on the advice of the Inspector General’s Office.

A spokesperson said in a statement: “The Honolulu Police Department was called to OCCC on Dec. 29 to take custody of undisclosed contraband sent through the mail to the facility.”

Wakai said the case could become a federal one.

“Who knows how long this has been happening?” Wakai said. “I’m hopeful that if this case in fact goes to trial that it’s taken over by the feds. The penalties on the federal side are far more stringent than the state side.”

Sources say the inmate those confiscated fireworks were addressed to isn’t even housed at OCCC. He’s serving his sentence in Arizona.