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Man who hid meth in car gets 10 years

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A California man who admitted stashing meth­am­pheta­mine in a vehicle shipped to Hawaii was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in federal prison.

Eric Castro’s sentence is part of a plea agreement for his involvement in a drug ring that dealt 60 pounds of meth in Hawaii between 2001 and 2005. According to court records, he hid 81⁄2 pounds of meth inside the engine of a Jeep Cherokee he shipped from Cali­for­nia to Hawaii island in 2005. He was a fugitive for eight years before authorities found him in Cali­for­nia.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Thomas said if the case had gone to trial, there were witnesses who would have been reluctant to testify.

Thomas said previously the arrests of Castro and his three co-defendants put a dent in the Big island’s drug trade.

In 2005 the street value for a pound of meth on Hawaii island was about $22,000. Castro was the source of the drugs that his co-defendants dealt on the island, according to court documents.

One of the men shipped 91⁄2 pounds of meth from Cali­for­nia to Hawaii in a cattle container.

The co-defendants have since pleaded guilty.

Castro apologized to the court and the "Hawaiian community" at his sentencing, even though the judge told him his comments wouldn’t affect his sentence.

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