Kauai Councilman Arthur Brun made his first court appearance today and pleaded not guilty to drugs and weapons charges.
Federal prosecutors describe him as the leader of a drug trafficking ring with deep ties to a notorious gang leader.
Law enforcement says there is plenty of evidence to prove that Brun was the leader of the crime ring. There are taped conversations from wiretaps of both his cellphones. There’s also video of Brun actually making a drug buy.
Brun is one 12 suspects indicted after a sting operation and now faces drug trafficking and weapons charges. Prosecutors have filed motions that Brun should be held in custody while awaiting trial because he is a danger to the community. Documents say, “He has the criminal connections and means to threaten and retaliate against witnesses.”
Prosecutors say Brun is the leader of a criminal ring that distributed methamphetamine throughout Kauai and he had dangerous associates.
“One of them was a gang leader, another a convicted felon who protected Arthur Brun and the drug trafficking organization,” said U.S. Attorney Kenji Price.
The gang leader is identified as Maluelue Umu of USO, short for United Samoan Organization. and according to prosecutors Brun’s protector is Orlando Manguche.
“Among other things, protect Brun and the organization by physically confronting or threatening those at odds with Arthur Brun,” said Price.
Prosecutors also filed court papers saying, “Brun sometimes requested sexual favors as repayment for drugs he supplied.”
And he showed no regard for law enforcement. When he was arrested and charged in October for assaulting an officer during a traffic stop, the officer got hurt because he was trying to get the keys out of Brun’s car before he drove off.
There’s a recorded phone conversation of Brun saying, “His fault he got hurt, (he) stuck his arm in the car… The cop stuck his arm in the car as why he had assault case.”
Brun has hired attorney Rustam Barbee, who also represented former HPD chief Louis Kealoha on conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges.
“We just had a chance to briefly look at the charges and later on when we get more information about the charges we’ll make some decisions,” said Barbee.
A detention hearing is scheduled Wednesday in federal court to determine if Brun can be released while waiting for trial.