KAILUA-KONA — A grand jury has indicted two retired Hawaii Police Department officers in connection with a 2018 stolen drug evidence case.
The Hawaii County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed Tuesday morning that a Kona grand jury convened Monday and evidence was heard on various drug and gambling charges against two retired Hawaii Police Department officers. More than 20 witnesses were called, including current and former Hawaii Police Department officers as well as civilians.
The evidence heard by the grand jury stems from reported stolen drug evidence that came to light in March 2018.
“It is what it is. If officers are doing wrong, we’re going to prosecute,” Hawaii Police Chief Paul Ferreira said Tuesday.
The first indictment was posted shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday against retired police officer Brian Miller.
Miller was charged with fourth-degree theft; obstructing government operations, three counts tampering with physical evidence by destroying or mutilating it; second-degree theft; first-degree promoting a dangerous drug; second-degree hindering prosecution; conspiracy to commit second-degree hindering prosecution; and conspiracy to commit tampering with physical evidence by destroying or mutilating it.
A second indictment posted at around 11:30 a.m. had charges filed against retired police officer Chadwick Fukui as well as four civilians: Lance Yamada, Stacey Yamada, David Colon and Ivar Kaluhikaua.
Fukui was charged with hindering prosecution; two counts of criminal conspiracy; and tampering with physical evidence.
The Yamada brothers, Colon and Kaluhikaua face the same charges.
Hawaii Police initially forwarded their investigation into one of their own sworn personnel to the Hawaii County Prosecutor’s Office on March 2, 2018, after cocaine was found missing from the Hilo evidence storage facility.
After reviewing the case, County Prosecutor Mitch Roth forwarded it to the Attorney General’s Office in Honolulu, which assigned it to Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office because of a conflict of interest.
After months of reviewing the case, Honolulu determined in October there was no probable cause to support a charge of Securing the Proceeds of an Offense or any other crime.
Prosecutors on Tuesday said they began reviewing the case again after receiving more information in December. The conflict of interest that existed in March 2018 that kept Hawaii County prosecutors from pursuing the case has been resolved. That conflict occurred in the Hilo office, prosecutors said, but could not go into more detail.
The initial police investigation began in fall 2017 when cocaine, originally recovered in 2014, was found to be lighter than reported during its initial recovery. The discrepancy was discovered when the evidence was being weighed in preparation to utilize a small quantity of the cocaine for training purposes.
The investigation identified a sworn employee as a person of interest for the missing portions of the drug, police said. The employee was placed on administrative leave without pay and subsequent audits of other evidence recovered by the officer revealed other anomalies, which revealed cases where there was a weight discrepancy in marijuana concentrate, (hashish), from two separate investigations.
This is a developing story. West Hawaii Today will update this article as information is received.