Another Halawa corrections officer arrested in meth investigation

Another Halawa corrections officer arrested in meth investigation
Published: Jan. 26, 2014 at 9:05 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2014 at 9:10 PM HST
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Adult Corrections Officer Mark Damas, flanked by arresting offers, after his arrest at Halawa...
Adult Corrections Officer Mark Damas, flanked by arresting offers, after his arrest at Halawa Correctional Facility Sunday

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Authorities have arrested an adult corrections officer at Halawa Correctional Facility in connection with a continuing investigation on methamphetamine dealing at the prison.

Mark Samson Damas, 45, was arrested shortly after 11 a.m. Sunday while he was on duty. He was taken into custody by FBI agents, investigators from the state Department of Public Safety's Internal Affairs office and the state Sheriff Division.

"Mr. Damas has been charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine here at the Halawa Corrections Facility," said FBI Special Agent Tom Simon, shortly after the arrest.

The FBI also released a nine-page affidavit, which includes the transcripts of calls made to and from Damas' cell phone, starting on Sept. 5, 2013, the day after the Federal court authorized the FBI to intercept Damas' audio calls and text messages.

Two consecutive calls were made between Damas and an individual with the initials MC on Sept. 5, 2013. The affidavit identified MC as the brother of a Halawa inmate. According to the FBI, MC told Damas he had money for Damas and a list of items to bring to his brother.

MC: Basically I can meet with you tonight and give you $2,000. I got a list of stuff he wants so I'll write the list down and give you the rest instead of calling it over the phone.

MD: Okay, okay. You going give me the list tonight?

MC: Yeah.

MD: That will work.

MC: He wants volcanoes, cigarettes, electronic ones and a bunch of illegal crap, too. Better off I just hand it to you.

In another phone conversation, made Sept. 7, Damas informed MC about the contraband items he is getting for MC's brother, including lighters, crazy glue and cigarettes, and the he also was trying to get a crack or coke pipe to his brother.

MD: This is D. I got everything for give your brothers, except I don't know where to get one crack pipe, and I don't know what is crack but I can give him regular coke, isn't that the same thing?

MC: No, coke is like rocked up and cooked up into crack.

MD: Oh boy.

MC: Whoever sells the coke should know how to do it, and they should also know about the crack pipe. So, you have to go to other sources for that.

The following day, Sept. 8 Damas allegedly told MC that he had given his brother some contraband, including meth, or ice, and cigarettes.

MD: I gave him, um, a $1,000 worth, um, of ice.

MC: Yeah.

MD: Then I gave em another carton, so he should be good.

MC: Okay.

MD: He is extremely happy.

MC: Good.

Damas' arrest comes two weeks after another Halawa corrections officer, James "Kimo" Sanders III, was arrested in the prison parking lot, also for allegedly dealing meth.

In a statement, Public Safety Director Ted Sakai said, "This latest arrest represents the ongoing investigative efforts to weed out corrupt employees in our prisons and to bring individuals who commit those crimes to justice, ensuring the safety in our prisons and the public."

"Most of the adult corrections officers here are absolutely heroes who put their lives on the line in a very difficult job," said Simon. "However, when there are allegations of corruption out there, the Department of Public Safety and the FBI are going to team up to make sure we can root those people out."

Simon also said that the Honolulu Police Department and the IRS assisted in the investigation leading to Damas' arrest.

Damas was booked at the FBI's Kapolei office and will be held overnight at the Federal Detention Center. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Federal Court.

If convicted, Damas faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.

Previous coverage:

Halawa guard arrested in prison parking lot, accused of dealing meth

EXCLUSIVE: Prison corruption crackdown could lead to more arrests

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