Pubdate: Sun, 19 Oct 2003
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Contact:  2003 West Hawaii Today
Author: Tiffany Edwards, West Hawaii Today
Note: To read about the "ice epidemic" in Hawaii, go to .


Mahuna Hails New Wiretap Laws For Success Of Mission

HILO - Taking advantage of federal wiretapping laws, local, state and
federal agents joined forces to dismantle five drug - trafficking
organizations on Oahu and the Big Island last week. 

A list of state and federal agents assisted the Hawaii County Police
Department in executing 20 search warrants on the Big Island alone last
Tuesday. The mission, which they punned "Operation Shave Ice," resulted in
arrest warrants for 20 residents, including 10 in West Hawaii. 

Authorities say a total of 50 residents in Hawaii, California and Arizona
were associated with five drug - trafficking organizations that brought to
Oahu and the Big Island "pounds and pounds and pounds" of crystal
methamphetamine, or "ice," and cocaine. 

Exactly how many pounds of drugs suspected to have been delivered here were
not provided Friday when details of Operation Shave Ice were shared with the
media. Hawaii County Assistant Police Chief Thomas Hickcox said federal
authorities would be making that determination. 

U.S. Attorney Edward Kubo, who called an Oahu press conference Friday
afternoon to detail Operation Shave Ice, alleged that on at least one
occasion drug - trafficking suspects brought to Hawaii 40 pounds of ice.

He said that the drugs came from California, Nevada and Arizona via
airlines, ships and the mail.

Referring to three out of five of the suspected drug - trafficking
organizations, Kubo said the Marvin Postadan Group allegedly imported to
Hawaii from Los Angeles about 20 to 30 pounds of cocaine and at least four
pounds of ice per month.

The William Totten Group allegedly imported to Hawaii from Phoenix
approximately 40 pounds of ice per month, and sent approximately $70,000 to
$100,000 weekly to the mainland to pay for ice to be sent to Hawaii.

The Shane Tom Group allegedly used the airlines to bring "multi - pounds" of
ice to Hawaii from Las Vegas, he said. 

Authorities did not identify with which drug - trafficking organizations the
Big Island residents were allegedly associated. 

Kubo and Hawaii County Police Chief Lawrence Mahuna credited federal
wiretapping laws for being able to dismantle the groups. 

"This case shows that the federal wiretap laws can and will protect our
citizens from those who dare to import or distribute ice to our people,"
Kubo said. "And this is a very effective law enforcement tool which has been
approved of by our federal courts." 

Kubo has been trying to persuade state legislators to adopt wiretap laws,
and he made that pitch again Friday during the press conference, saying, "I
only hope that someday the state of Hawaii will also have an adequate state
wiretap law which will also protect our citizens from these organizations
distributing ice to our citizens."

Mahuna said the authorities involved in Operation Shave Ice were more
effective in identifying and dismantling the members of the drug -
trafficking organizations by using federal wire tapping laws and "state - of
- - the - art wiretapping equipment."

The local, state and federal agents involved in the operation are part of
the Hawaii High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Group, which is a joint law
enforcement task force that has overtime and equipment paid for through
federal grants. 

Assisting Hawaii County Police Department in Tuesday's searches and arrests
were representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Drug
Enforcement Administration; Hawaii National Guard; U.S. Coast Guard; Hawaii
Air National Guard; Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Bureau of
Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and the Honolulu Police Department.

The last time local, state and federal agents joined forces was nearly two
years ago when 95 officers worked to dismantle a heroin ring with
distribution centers on Oahu and the Big Island. 

"Operation Island Pipeline" resulted in 18 raids here and on Oahu, and the
arrest of 53 people, including 25 Big Island residents. The name of the
operation denoted the stream of money and drugs that were said to have gone
back and forth between Hawaii and Mexico. 

Authorities involved in Operation Island Pipeline said $166,000 in cash, 20
pounds of heroin - with a street value of $1.6 million - and a pound of
marijuana were seized. Those involved were charged in either state or
federal court, or both.
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