Students charged for pot brownie bust

  • Art Souza

KAILUA-KONA — Two boys were charged in connection with selling suspected pot brownies at a Kailua-Kona school.

A 14-year-old juvenile is facing three charges from the incident that caused a pair of female classmates at Kealakehe High School to go to the hospital after ingesting the reportedly laced dessert.


Both victims have since been treated and released.

The 14-year-old is facing one count of promoting a controlled substance on school property, a class C felony that is punishable by up to five years of incarceration. He’s also facing two misdemeanor counts of third-degree assault, one for each female victim.

The suspect was flown to Oahu Friday morning and is in custody at the Kapolei Juvenile Detention Facility — Hale Ho’omalu.

Hawaii Island police responded to Kealakehe High School at 12:15 p.m. Thursday to a report of a female juvenile being transported to the Kona Community Hospital by medics after eating a brownie, passing out and experiencing convulsions.

Upon investigation, it was determined that another student had sold her a brownie believed to contain marijuana, according to a Hawaii Police Department press release. The boy was brought to the office, and additional brownies were located upon search of his backpack by school officials.

A second student was also located in possession of a brownie on Thursday and had additional marijuana in his backpack, which was also located upon search by school officials.

Hawaii Police Lt. Thomas Shopay said on Friday the 15-year-old was considered an associate of the main suspect and was arrested for misdemeanor promotion of a detrimental drug. He was released to the custody of his parents.

As officers were processing the two suspects on Thursday at the Kealakehe Police Station, a second female juvenile at the school experienced a medical emergency related to the ingestion of a brownie.

She was also transported to the Kona Community Hospital by medics, where she was admitted for observation after an elevated heart rate that was not subsiding.

Shopay said the second girl, 16, was kept overnight at the hospital for observation but was released Friday.

The first female juvenile, 15, was treated and released on Thursday.

Police weren’t releasing details on the quantity of the drug seized. But Shopay said the department wasn’t aware how many more could be out there, and asked parents to be on guard that some could still be circulating.

“We just want to be sure the public is aware,” he said. “If you’re a parent of a student, keep an eye out.”

He said the victims did purchase the edibles, but didn’t know whether the victims knew exactly what they were buying.

Art Souza, superintendent for the Department of Education’s Honokaa-Kealakehe-Kohala-Konawaena Complex Area District, said the school’s officials were working with police in the investigation.

He said students caught with drugs face discipline under chapter 19 policy, and that the severity of a felony offense would warrant serious punishment.

“The youngster would be subject to very serious discipline, including expulsion,” he said.

Schools are required to provide an education to students who have been arrested but are not in police custody as they await court proceedings to play out. However, that education would be under an alternate environment, which is to say the student would be isolated from their peers and undertake lessons in after-school formats, Souza said.

But the school can suspend a student even before establishing the after-school environment.

“Given this is a drug offense, the suspension would be more than 10 days,” Souza said, adding that he hoped the message kids receive from the situation is that all drug matters are taken seriously, regardless how harmless some, such as pot brownies, can seem.

“It’s not a minor offense, it may seem like that,” he said. “Something like this will never be taken lightly.”


Kealakehe High School principal Wilfred Murakami didn’t return a message Friday.

Anyone with information on the incident asked to contact Officer Mike Thompson via the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311.