A federal grand jury has indicted Kauai County Councilman Arthur Brun and 11 other people accused of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and other crimes on Kauai, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii.
Police and federal agents arrested Brun and 11 others today who are part of a “major drug trafficking organization that has been supplying a significant amount of methamphetamine throughout the community,” Kauai Police Chief Todd Raybuck said in a statement.
The indictment released today identified the 11 individuals as Maluelue Umu, Kelvin Kauwila Kai, Steven Keliikuli, Kaniu Huihui, Sheena Millare, Efren Yanos, Kirsten Makanoe Ayau, Orlando Manguchei, Robby Silva, Haidee Sueyasu and Phrystal Bacio.
A news conference is scheduled for Friday at the Kauai Police Department where Raybuck, U.S. Attorney Kenji Price for the District of Hawaii, and other officials will address the charges.
Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami said in a statement today, “I am disappointed that an elected council member has been arrested under these serious criminal drug charges. But this highlights the reality that addiction is a disease that knows no bounds and does not discriminate. While it’s important to remember that all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, it is just as important to remember that no one – in any capacity – is above the law.”
Kauai police had initiated a narcotics investigation which led to the discovery of the drug trafficking ring.
Police worked with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii and the FBI on the investigation.
Earlier this month, Brun was cited for crossing a double-yellow line and driving without insurance after he struck a pickup truck on Kapaa Bypass Road, injuring a 6-year-old boy and a 49-year-old man.
Police had said there appeared to be no indications of driver impairment.
Brun is scheduled to appear in trial in March for a separate case where he is charged with assault of a law enforcement officer in the first degree and failure to stop a motor vehicle in the first degree.
Both charges are class C felonies punishable by up to five years in prison.
On Oct. 29, Brun allegedly assaulted an officer with his vehicle in Lihue while trying to flee during a traffic stop.
He stopped in front of the Lihue Police Office and allegedly fled in a Honda sedan, hitting the officer.
Police pursued the vehicle to Kauai Beach Drive where they stopped and arrested him.
The officer struck by the sedan sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Brun is the council committee chairman of the Parks & Recreation/Transportation Committee and the vice chairman of the Public Safety & Human Services Committee. He is serving his second term with the county council.
Council Chairman Arryl Kaneshiro said in a statement today: “On a personal level it has been difficult to watch what has transpired with Councilmember Brun’s personal situation. This is a testament of the hardships everyone deals with in their personal lives and the repercussion of the decisions we make as individuals.
“As councilmembers we are looked upon to uphold the integrity of the office. I hope Councilmember Brun will do what is right for his family, supporters and the community,” he said.
Kaneshiro noted the council is bound by county charter concerning any disciplinary action that could be taken against a councilmember. The charter states that “any councilmember who removes said councilmember’s residence from the county or is convicted of a felony shall immediately forfeit the office.”
“Although this is Councilmember Brun’s second arrest, he has not been convicted of a felony and no action can be taken until the criminal proceedings have run their course,” Kaneshiro said. The charter also “provides an avenue for a member of the public to initiate impeachment proceedings against any officer of the county, including elected councilmembers.”
The Kauai County Council also could initiate disciplinary action proceedings against a councilmember, however, the action would need to have occurred in the presence of the council such as disorderly behavior, for example, during a council meeting.
Kaneshiro said, “The Kauai County Council is well aware of the sensitivity of this issue within the community and will continue to monitor whether any of these rules are enforceable as more information becomes available.”