The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii says it’s on pace to nearly double its firearms and violent crime indictments.
The office says in the past three months, 15 people from Hawaii were charged with drug or violent crimes in the U.S. District Court in Honolulu, and 13 firearms, 543 rounds of ammunition, approximately 13 pounds of methamphetamine, and over $35,000 were seized, as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (“PSN”).
Due to these prosecutions and others, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii is on pace to file approximately twice as many firearms and violent crime indictments in Fiscal Year 2018 as it did in the previous two fiscal years.
“Project Safe Neighborhoods is fundamentally about getting Hawaii’s most violent offenders off our streets,” said U.S. Attorney Kenji M. Price. “Along with our federal and local law enforcement partners, we are committed to working tirelessly to make our community safer by targeting for prosecution the most dangerous offenders in Hawaii.”
The fifteen individuals charged include, among others:
Shane Durante, 46, who was charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute; conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine; using firearms and ammunition during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime; and being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. Three other individuals were charged with related crimes in connection with Durante’s arrest.
Chester Cabang, 37, and Kloulubak Debedebek, 37, were charged in a criminal complaint with distributing 14 ounces and 3 ounces of methamphetamine, respectively. Following their arrests, law enforcement recovered several weapons.
Ikaika Adams-Feeney, 28, was charged and pleaded guilty to possessing with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, and unlawfully possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
Adalberto Cortez, 46, was charged with conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute heroin, with several counts of possession with the intent to distribute heroin, and with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Mitchum Pastor, 52, was charged with one count of bank robbery and one count of credit union robbery. Pastor pled guilty as charged and is currently awaiting sentencing.
John Hubbard, 61, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to allegations in the criminal complaint, Hubbard fired two shots above a victim’s head in the Leilani Estates Subdivision on the Big Island. Hubbard was charged with possessing a weapon and ammunition, all while having previously been convicted of two prior felonies.
Chad Valoroso, 53, was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to the allegations in the criminal complaint, after Valoroso fired two shots from a moving vehicle into the air in Wailuku, Maui, he was apprehended by Maui Police Department officers.
All of these cases are part of PSN, a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.
These cases were investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Homeland Security (Homeland Security Investigations), U.S. Marshals Service, State of Hawaii Department of Public Safety, State of Hawaii Department of the Attorney General, and the police departments and prosecutor’s offices of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai Counties and the City and County of Honolulu.
If convicted, each defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after reviewing factors unique to the case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation.
Criminal complaints and indictments only contain charges and are not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.