Prosecutors seek no bail for Hilo doctor accused in multi-island drug ring

HONOLULU — Federal prosecutors are asking for no bail for a Big Island pain doctor accused of dealing opioids with his sister, a key figure in a growing public corruption scandal.

Dr. Rudolph Puana and his sister, former Honolulu deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, are scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in federal court. A 54-count indictment alleges Kealoha used her position to cover up their crimes.


Attorneys for the siblings haven’t returned messages seeking comment.

Puana, a Hilo anesthesiologist and pain doctor, used his pain clinic to distribute and dispense “immense” amounts of controlled substances including oxycodone, Xanax and fentanyl, prosecutors said. He and unnamed co-conspirators sold or bartered the prescription drugs for other drugs such as cocaine, prosecutors said.

When a police officer notified Kealoha that her brother and a co-conspirator were buying and using cocaine, she “arranged to have herself assigned as the prosecutor” of the investigation, the indictment said.

Puana should be detained without bail because he’s a drug addict and “gun enthusiast,” prosecutors said in a motion. According to the document, Puana was in rehab last year. He has owned numerous firearms, including handguns and rifles, prosecutors said.

“The Red-headed Hawaiian: The inspiring story about a local boy from rural Hawaii who makes good,” is the title of Puana’s memoir he co-wrote with childhood friend and novelist Chris McKinney. The memoir describes how Puana was teased for his red hair, struggled as a student and then graduated from Creighton University School of Medicine in Nebraska, where he met his wife Lynn Puana.


Kealoha and her now-retired Honolulu police chief husband are scheduled for trial next month in a separate indictment accusing them of framing her uncle for stealing their home mailbox.

Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro and Honolulu Corporation Counsel Donna Leong received letters saying they’re targets in the ongoing investigation.

  1. Dave Thompson February 13, 2019 11:50 am

    So jail the Kealohas also!

  2. Buds4All February 13, 2019 12:37 pm

    This is just standard procedure here in da Islands Bra.

  3. antifaHI February 13, 2019 8:05 pm

    A Hawaiian native doctor who is a gun nut and drug pusher has close ties to a state prosecutor and the corrupt police chief. Can’t get better than that.

  4. Graystash February 13, 2019 8:46 pm

    It is really about time that this becomes public !! Most of Hawaiian bureaucracy is a festering sore

  5. Sara Steiner-jackson February 14, 2019 7:02 am

    Better have bail, they are planning to run!!!

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