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Contraband
02/14/2013

Honolulu man receives 4-year prison term for trafficking illegal fireworks

HONOLULU — A Honolulu man was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison after pleading guilty to multiple federal violations stemming from a multi-agency probe involving U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) that revealed he trafficked in illegal fireworks.

Brandon C. Haleamau, 28, admitted to trafficking illegal fireworks, possessing a stolen firearm and structuring of funds. In addition to the prison term, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Helen Gillmor also ordered Haleamau to forfeit more than $345,000 in cash and three vehicles related to the structuring conviction.

According to court documents, Haleamau transported commercial grade display fireworks, which are classified as explosives, without a license. Further, he imported the fireworks from China using falsified customs declarations. Finally, to conceal his criminal activities, Haleamau made more than $1.1 million in structured currency transactions. Under federal law, a Currency Transaction Report must be filed by a financial institution with the Internal Revenue Service in connection with any currency transaction of more than $10,000. It is illegal to structure transactions with financial institutions in order to avoid this filing requirement.

While awaiting sentencing for these offenses, Haleamau possessed a stolen firearm on two occasions. He also possessed, and improperly stored in his home, a 12-inch commercial grade display fireworks shell, classified as an explosive.

In addition to HSI, the probe involved the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Darren W.K. Ching.

To report suspicious activity, call ICE's 24-hour toll-free hotline at: 1-866-347-2423 or visit www.ice.gov.