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December 8, 2016Honolulu, HI, United StatesNarcotics

37 indicated in ICE-led probe targeting ring linked to methamphetamine trafficking in Honolulu

HONOLULU – Federal authorities announced the indictment Thursday of 37 defendants charged in connection with an ongoing and far-reaching multiagency probe, spearheaded by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), targeting a criminal organization suspected of trafficking large quantities of methamphetamine in the Honolulu area.

During a coordinated enforcement action Thursday, investigators with HSI, the FBI, and the Honolulu Police Department arrested 22 of the defendants, who are named in six separate federal indictments handed down by a grand jury late last month and earlier this week. The indictments remained sealed until the arrests. The six indictments charge the defendants with more than 100 drug trafficking offenses. Three of the accused are also charged with firearms violations. The illegal activities allegedly occurred between July 2014 and November 2016.

Nineteen of those arrested during Thursday’s operation are from Hawaii. Six other Hawaii residents charged in the case were already in federal or state custody prior to Thursday’s enforcement action. The remaining defendants in the case are from northern California and Washington. 

If convicted of the most serious charges in the indictment, the defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison, with a mandatory minimum prison terms of 10 years. Other charges carry maximum terms of 40 years in prison. While the least serious drug offenses have maximum prison terms of 20 years. The three firearm offenses alleging possession of firearms and/or ammunition during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime carry a mandatory five-year prison term consecutive to the sentence for the drug trafficking crime. The two firearm offenses alleging the defendant to be a felon in possession of firearms and/or ammunition carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 10  years. 

The charges in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.    

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tony R. Roberts and Marion Percell with the District of Hawaii.