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Man awarded $12.5M from city ordered held without bail in federal gun, drug case

                                Jonaven Perkins-Sinapati
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Jonaven Perkins-Sinapati

The 38-year-old man who settled with the city for $12.5 million following injuries he suffered in a 2021 police pursuit was ordered held without bail today on federal charges that he used a ghost gun while selling methamphetamine in Waianae.

Jonaven Perkins-Sinapati was arrested twice in May on suspicion of drug and gun charges. He is facing state and federal charges. The city can’t get the money back from Perkins-Sinapati.

He was charged May 24 by federal criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, according to federal court records.

His attorney, Michael Green, submitted to detention, according to the court documents.

“The Court, taking judicial notice of the U.S. Pretrial Services’ Report and other documents on file, finds there is no condition or combination of conditions that will reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant as required and the safety of the community,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Rom A. Trader ordered today.

A preliminary hearing on the federal charges is scheduled for Sept. 9 in Trader’s court.

The city agreed to pay $12.5 million to Perkins-­Sinapati, the driver of a car that crashed on Sept 12, 2021, in Makaha during a pursuit by Honolulu police officers who allegedly left the scene, only to return and pretend they were not involved in the pursuit.

Three Honolulu Police Department officers are awaiting trial for allegedly causing the high-speed chase and crash and covering it up.

Officers Joshua J.S. Nahu­lu, 37, Erik X.K. Smith, 25, and Jake R.T. Bartolome, 35, were fired by the department in February. A fourth officer, Robert G. Lewis III, whose age was not released, also faces criminal charges in connection with the crash and cover-up.

All four entered not-guilty pleas on March 23, 2023, and go to trial Oct. 7.

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