Feds: Mountain View man received large shipments of meth via mail

  • Tai

A 35-year-old Mountain View man is in custody at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu after a search warrant executed on an Ala Loop home last week turned up more than a half-pound of methamphetamine, 91 marijuana plants and more than $100,000 in cash, according to federal court documents.

Johnathan Samuel Tai is charged with possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and carrying a firearm in the commission of a drug trafficking crime. According to documents, the firearm is a Ruger 9mm semi-automatic handgun which was found in Tai’s 2016 Toyota 4Runner.

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Tai made his initial appearance Monday in U.S. District Court in Honolulu. He’s being held without bail until his next hearing on Thursday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a motion to detain Tai without bail, stating Tai committed the alleged offenses while on probation or parole, that his drug offense carries a possible 10-year-plus sentence, that he was in possession of a firearm and is a flight risk and a danger to the community.

In addition to the items previously mentioned, agents and officers from the U.S. Postal Inspector, Homeland Security and Hawaii Police Department found more than 2,600 rounds of ammunition in various calibers and a bump-stock device that allows the shooter of a semi-automatic firearm to initiate continuous firing of the weapon with a single pull of the trigger, documents state.

According to documents, on May 4, postal inspectors obtained and executed a federal search warrant on two Priority Mail parcels mailed April 28 from Ontario, Calif., and addressed to “John Boi” at a Mountain View Post Office box. One parcel allegedly contained almost 4 pounds of methamphetamine, and the other contained 6.15 pounds of meth.

The following day, federal and local authorities executed a “controlled delivery” of one of the packages to the post office, but nobody picked up the parcel and no arrests were made, documents state.

On May 6, postal inspectors obtained video surveillance from the Mountain View Post Office from April 28 in which “an individual bearing a strong resemblance to” Tai picked up two Priority Mail parcels, both from La Verne, Calif., weighing 8 pounds, 10 ounces, and 6 pounds, 3 ounces.

The video showed the individual driving a red Toyota 4Runner registered to Tai, according to documents.

The search warrant for Tai’s residence was obtained on May 12 and signed by Hilo District Judge Kanani Laubach.

After being read his Miranda rights, Tai told investigators he had received the approximate half-pound of meth at his post office box in Mountain View in April, documents state. He also allegedly told investigators he had received about 6 pounds of meth through the mail since April at a price of $8,000 per pound, and then sold the drugs for $7,000 per half-pound.

Tai was arrested by local police on May 13 on suspicion of first-degree commercial promotion of marijuana — a Class A felony carrying a potential 20-year prison term upon conviction — but was turned over to the feds without state charges being filed.

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According to court records, he pleaded guilty in 2009 to first-degree promotion of marijuana and was sentenced to 10 years of probation. Court records indicate Tai violated his probation in 2011 when he failed a drug test and did not attend court-ordered drug treatment, causing the court to restart the clock on his probation.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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