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Arizona man sentenced to 15 years in prison for role in Maui fentanyl conspiracy

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A 41-year-old Arizona man was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for his role in a fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine distribution ring that operated for at least a decade on Maui and in northern California.

According to a third superseding, eight-count indictment filed Nov. 18. 2020, Robert Darnell Beal, aka “Oso”, conspired with Pongitini Latu Fonua Jr., aka “Tis” or “Tin”, Vaitaki Manoa Jr., aka “Junior” or “June”, Bernadette Irene Salt, Tasmania Stan Milo, aka “Tas”, Siosifa Koka, aka “Sifa”, Feofaki Vakalahi, aka “Aki”, Kalisitiane Takivalu Oliveti, aka “Taki” and Sione Olevao to possess and sell more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, more than 400 grams of fentanyl and more than 500 grams of cocaine.

The group was active from at least 2009 to 2019, according to federal court documents.

On Jun. 25, Beal was found guilty of conspiring to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl after a five-day jury trial in Honolulu, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Beal was previously convicted in New Mexico of felony possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a cocaine-based drug on Oct. 28, 2002, according to federal court documents. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Aug. 16, 2004.

He is appealing Monday’s sentence, by U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson, through his attorney, Marc J. Victor.

Clare E. Connors, U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said in a statement that the evidence presented in court showed that Beal flew to the Dayton International Airport in Ohio from Phoenix, Arizona, on Dec. 10, 2014, and took possession of over four pounds of fentanyl that was transported from the San Francisco Bay Area to Dayton, Ohio by another individual.

FBI agents monitoring wiretaps authorized by a federal court determined that fentanyl was being transported to Dayton, Ohio by a drug trafficking organization operating on Maui and in Northern California, according to the news release.

The FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Ohio, working with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, pulled Beal’s taxi over outside the Dayton International Airport and seized 4,007 grams of fentanyl that was found in Beal’s travel bag, according to the news release.

Beal faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in jail because of his prior felony conviction for cocaine possession and sales, according to the release. The federal operation was run by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

The case was the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, the Maui Police Department and the DEA with help from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, according to the release. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas C. Muehleck.

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