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Wailuku man sentenced to 18 years in prison for meth trafficking

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A federal judge Tuesday sentenced a 39-year-old Wailuku man to 220 months’ (18 years and 4 months) imprisonment for his major role in a methamphetamine trafficking operation.

Chief U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway sentenced John Lee Balberdi, leader and organizer of a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Balberdi was arrested after Maui police seized 550 grams of pure methamphetamine in February 2009 from the Kahului home of one of his co-conspirators, U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii Florence Nakakuni said.

He also has a prior felony drug conviction, Nakakuni said.

Balberdi admitted to distributing an additional 40 pounds of meth between March 2007 and February 2009.

The FBI and the Maui police investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Inciong prosecuted the case.

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