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May 19, 2021Honolulu, HI, United StatesFirearms, Ammunition and Explosives, Narcotics

Big Island man arrested on methamphetamine and firearm charges following HSI investigation

HONOLULU – A Big Island man appeared in U.S. District Court Monday to face methamphetamine and firearm charges, following an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Hawaiʻi County Police, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Jonathan Tai, 36, of Kurtistown was arrested at his home Friday, following the execution of a search warrant at that location.

“Mr. Tai is a clear danger to our community,” said John F. Tobon, Special Agent in Charge for HSI Honolulu. “I’m proud of the diligent work by our agents and the cooperation of our federal, state, and local partners to bring these charges.”

According to court documents, HSI and law enforcement partners recovered approximately 4,600 gross grams of a substance testing positive for methamphetamine from two mail parcels addressed to a post office box in Mountain View. No one picked up those parcels, but a review of video surveillance of the same post office showed a man strongly resembling Tai, previously picking up two other parcels. Tai was also identified a person who received mail at the same post office box to which the searched mail parcels were addressed.

During the search, officers and agents recovered 240 gross grams of a substance testing positive for methamphetamine, more than 2,600 rounds of ammunition, more than $100,000 in U.S. currency, and a bump-stock device allowing a shooter of a semi-automatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger. Agents also recovered a semi-automatic handgun and five “ghost guns,” generally defined as unserialized firearms that are often sold through kits and assembled at home.

Tai is charged with one count of methamphetamine trafficking and one count of possessing the semi-automatic handgun in relation to the methamphetamine trafficking. If convicted on those charges, he faces a maximum penalty up to life imprisonment on the methamphetamine charge and on the firearm charge and a mandatory term of five years in prison consecutive to the imprisonment on the drug charge. U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield ordered him detained pending a detention hearing on Thursday, May 20.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaiʻi.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.