HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Even before the sentencing hearing started Wednesday morning, former Honolulu Police Officer Roddy Tsunezumi was emotional.
He wiped tears from his eyes numerous times and repeatedly turned to look at his family and girlfriend sitting in the gallery.
The former HPD Traffic officer pleaded guilty to extortion. Tsunezumi, and an accomplice Jeremy Javillo, convinced the owners of a Honolulu bar that they were the target of a robbery plot. Tsunezumi suggested they pay $15,000 for protection and said if he didn't, they could be in danger.
One of the owners testified at the hearing that he and his wife suffered from psychological and emotional distress as a result. He said they would barricade themselves in their home out of fear and got a gun permit.
Tsunezumi also admitted to taking part in an elaborate scheme to sell stolen cars. It was his accomplice, Jeremy Javillo, who ended up working with the FBI to set up Tsunezumi. Court documents detail the scheme saying Officer Tsunezumi would buy junked cars at auction and would send Javillo to steal a similar car. Tsunezumi would then switch the Vehicle Identification Number or VIN and sell the stolen car. One of the vehicles used to set up Tsunezumi, was the white pickup truck shown here.
Police sources say at least one other HPD officer purchased one of the stolen cars. That officer, a motorcycle cop, is on administrative leave as the investigation into his role continues.
Tsunezumi's attorney pointed out during the hearing, that numerous letters were written on the officer's behalf to tell the court that the 9-year veteran of the force was a good man who did a lot of work for the community.
Tsunezumi also read from a statement saying he started going to church and volunteering after resigning from HPD and from the Air National Guard.
Even the Assistant U.S. Attorney, Kenneth Sorenson told the judge that Tsunezumi was cooperative after his arrest and helped them with other criminal cases.
But in the end, Federal Judge Derrick Watson called Tsunezumi's behavior 'reprehensible' and a 'violation of the public's trust' in law enforcement. He sentenced him to the maximum in the range, 33 months in federal prison.
Tsunezumi was allowed two weeks at the request of the U.S. Prosecuting Attorney who said he needed the former officer's help with an ongoing case. He will surrender to authorities on January 28.