Ping Hong Lee of Honolulu was arraigned Tuesday before Magistrate Judge Wes R. Porter on an indictment charging conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Lee, who was found with about 24 pounds of cocaine and a loaded Charter Arms .38 caliber pistol, pleaded not guilty to the charges. His trial is set for March 30 before Senior District Court Judge Helen Gilmore
Law enforcement officers observed Lee, the lone occupant of a 2018 Porsche Macan GTS, pull into the pickup area of a Waikiki hotel on Jan. 13, according to court filings. While there, a male entered the backseat of the Porsche with a dark blue duffel bag and then exited without the dark blue duffel bag. After Lee drove away, law enforcement officers tried to conduct a stop of the Porsche but were unsuccessful. The Porsche and Lee were found minutes later. Within the Porsche, law enforcement officers recovered approximately 24 pounds of cocaine from within the dark blue duffel bag, a loaded Charter Arms .38 caliber pistol, and U.S. currency.
Lee has a prior 2012 federal drug distribution felony conviction.
If convicted of the charges, Lee faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and up to life.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Darren W.K. Ching.