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Federal judge orders Michael Miske held without bail

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A federal judge has ordered to detain Oahu businessman Michael Miske Jr. without bail pending trial on multiple charges involving a years-long organized crime ring investigation.

In a telephonic detention hearing Tuesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Mansfield granted the government’s motion to detain Miske.

Federal prosecutors asserted Miske poses a danger to the community and is a flight risk.

Miske, 46, is detained at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center on 17 charges that include racketeering, conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery, murder for hire conspiracy, firearms, chemical weapons, drugs and bank fraud.

FBI agents arrested Miske July 15 on a federal indictment that also named 10 alleged associates: his half-brother John Stancil, Kaulana Freitas, Preston Kimoto, Michael Buntenbah, Hunter Wilson, Jarrin Young, Dae Han Moon, Lance Bermudez, Harry Kauhi and Norman Akau III.

Three of the charges against Miske are considered “death-eligible” counts. If convicted, only the U.S. Attorney General would be able to authorize the death penalty.

It might be a while until the trial against Miske and the 10 others is held. The government filed a motion last week to continue the trial for a year due to the complexity of the case. A hearing has yet to be scheduled on the motion.

Federal prosecutors alleged Miske led a criminal enterprise that waged violence against “rivals, competitors and innocent members of the community over a period spanning years, if not decades. In so doing, Miske participated in, directed and facilitated numerous assaults, kidnapping, extortion, the use of firearms, attempted murder and murder for hire.”

During the detention hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Inciong described the danger Miske poses to the community alleging his history of violence over the years.

Inciong accused Miske of developing a coded system to describe the level of harm he wanted inflicted on a person: 50 percent meant physical injury, 80 percent meant injuries that required hospitalization and 100 percent meant murder.

Inciong said they have identified more than two dozen victims from 2003 to 2018, a majority described as “purely innocent victims” who were either assaulted or threatened by Miske or others at his direction.

Federal prosecutors also alleged multiple threats Miske made against at least three police officers in 2007 and 2015.

The government accused the organization of using businesses to further its criminal objectives, including Kamaaina Termite & Pest Control, Kamaaina Holdings, Hawaii Partners, Kamaaina Plumbing and Home Renovations, Kamaaina Home Renovations, Makana Pacific Development, and the Encore Nightclub formerly known as M Nightclub.

Federal prosecutors accused Miske with kidnapping and murder-for-hire in connection with the disappearance of Johnathan Fraser in 2016. Fraser was last seen at his Hawaii Kai apartment on July 30, 2016. He was never found.

The government alleged Miske planned Fraser’s murder on the “mistaken belief” that Fraser was the driver of vehicle involved in a two-vehicle collision in November 2015. Miske’s son, Caleb-Jordan Keanu Miske-Lee, died in March 2016from injuries sustained in the crash.

Inciong described Miske as a flight risk because of his access to million dollars in assets. “There’s no question that he’s a flight risk and must be detained,” he said.

At Tuesday’s hearing, attorney Thomas Otake who is representing Miske described the government’s allegations against Miske of using Kamaaina Termite as a front for money laundering as absurd.

Otake requested Miske be placed under house arrest with GPS monitoring until the trial. “Mr. Miske is a lifelong resident of Hawaii. His ties to the this community could not be stronger,” he said adding Miske has provided fumigation services to thousands of clients as well as past charitable work through Kamaaina Termite & Pest Control.

Otake argued Miske is not a flight risk because the government has seized Miske’s assets and froze his bank accounts.

With the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and an inmate at the detention center who reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, Otake said Miske’s hypertension puts him at a high risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.

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