POSTED: 8:39 p.m. HST, Jun 28, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 6:29 a.m. HST, Jun 29, 2013
Law enforcement officers arrested seven people this week in connection with a crystal methamphetamine distribution operation between California and Hawaii.
Executing a nine-count federal indictment returned by a grand jury on June 20, officers arrested Oahu residents John Penitani, 33; Makusi Penitani, 46; Siaosi Mafileo, 32; Jake Del Mundo-Faagai, 31; Michael Coleman, 28; Michel Nguyen, 33; and Keschan Taylor, 29. The arrests were made on June 25 and 26.
Also indicted were Oahu residents Julius Mitchell, 42, who is in state custody for an unrelated charge, and 41-year-old Salvador Maciel, who remains at large.
Florence Nakakuni, U.S. Attorney for Hawaii, said the Drug Enforcement Administration began investigating John Penitani in August 2012. Penitani allegedly received “multi-pound” quantities of crystal methamphetamine from California each month. The drug was then distributed by Penitani’s co-conspirators, primarily in cental Honolulu and leeward Oahu, Nakakuni said.
The indictment charges all nine defendants with methamphetamine conspiracy, which is punishable by 10 years to life in prison.