"If convicted, Ranney, Santos and Honda each face a mandatory imprisonment of 10 years to life"
Historic ‘ice’ bust nets 5 suspects
Five people were arrested and three were charged in an investigation into a Las Vegas-Honolulu drug ring that allegedly brought 79 pounds of crystal methamphetamine to the islands since mid-2004.
The amount, which includes 35 pounds of "ice" seized from a Waikele home this month, is believed to be the largest involved in a single investigation in recent history, drug enforcement officials said.
Not since one individual was charged in the 1980s in connection with nearly 40 pounds of ice has there been a seizure as significant, officials said.
"Definitely, it's one of the biggest, if not the biggest in recent history that anyone in the DEA office is aware of," said Geoffrey Wellein, spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Honolulu.
Two men accused of conspiring to distribute the drugs appeared in U.S. District Court here and in Las Vegas yesterday. Charged in a federal complaint unsealed yesterday is Charles Lee Ranney Jr., 27, of Las Vegas and formerly from Hawaii, and Antonio Santos, 37, of Waipahu. Both were arrested Friday in Las Vegas and Sand Island, respectively.
Also appearing yesterday before federal Magistrate Kevin Chang was Francis Honda, 46, of Waipahu, who was arrested Sept. 13. He was charged in a criminal complaint Friday with possession with intent to distribute 13 ounces of "ice" that was found on him when he was arrested.
According to an affidavit by Gerald Lawson, special agent with the DEA, Honda told agents that he had given the 35 pounds seized in Waikele to a friend to hold earlier this month after learning one of his customers had been arrested.
The 35 pounds of ice allegedly was the unsold portion of 40 pounds given to him by Ranney, his Las Vegas supplier, at a meeting on Sept. 5. The 40 pounds had an estimated street value of $5.376 million.
According to the complaint, Honda had previously received a total of 44 pounds of ice since mid-2004 from Ranney or middleman Santos and paid between $18,000 and $20,000 a pound. The drugs allegedly were sent from Ranney's Harbor Pond Drive residence in Las Vegas to Santos' addresses in Waipahu via U.S. postal mail or express mail.
Postal records show Santos, who lived at a Kahualena Street home and later a Waipahu Depot Road apartment, received six parcels ranging in weight from 10 to 31 pounds between Feb. 26 and May 15, the complaint said.
If convicted, Ranney, Santos and Honda each face a mandatory imprisonment of 10 years to life. Other people have been identified through the joint investigation by the DEA and Honolulu police, but only the three have been charged so far.
Prosecutors will be asking the court to find Santos and Honda are flight risks who pose a danger to the community and should be held without bail pending trial. A detention hearing is set for Thursday.
Ranney is expected to be brought to Honolulu to face the charges.
Attorneys Joseph Mottl for Santos and Arnold Phillips II for Honda declined comment on the charges. "The main thing is to get him out," Phillips said of Honda.
Seen at http://starbulletin.com/2005/09/20/news/index6.html
35 pounds of meth seized in Waipahu
By Ken Kobayashi
Advertiser Courts Writer
Law-enforcement officials seized about 35 pounds of crystal methamphetamine from a Wai-pahu home last week in one of the largest seizures of the drug in Hawai'i.
The raid was part of a crackdown on what authorities said was a major Las Vegas-to-Honolulu ice smuggling ring.
A Las Vegas man who is a former Hawai'i resident and two Waipahu men were arrested on ice charges and were being held without bail.
The 35 pounds of ice, valued at more than $4.7 million based on a street price of $300 a gram, is the largest amount seized here since the 1980s.
Geoff Wellein, public information officer for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's Hawai'i office, said the narcotics seizure was "extremely significant" based on the amount. He said he could not speculate about the impact the seizure will have on ice trafficking, but he said "it will definitely make an impact."
Charles Lee Ranney Jr., 27, who was arrested Friday, is being held in Las Vegas. Antonio Santos, 37, and Francis M. Honda, 46, were both ordered held without bail yesterday in federal court here.
An affidavit filed in federal court to support the charge against Ranney and Santos outlined an underworld of ice sales and transactions worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The drug, a highly addictive crystalline form of methamphetamine that is smoked, has become an epidemic-level problem in Hawai'i, some authorities say, and has been the renewed focus of law-enforcement officials, politicians and residents in recent years.
Ranney and Santos are charged with a drug conspiracy that allegedly involved about 79 pounds of ice turned over to Honda at wholesale prices since mid-2004. Honda is charged with drug possession.
The affidavit, by a DEA agent, portrays Ranney as the Las Vegas supplier, Santos as his associate and Honda as the wholesale dealer who at one time paid $300,000 to Ranney for 20 pounds of ice.
The affidavit said Honda, who was arrested Sept. 13, agreed to cooperate and gave an account of dealing in increasingly larger amounts of ice sent here from Las Vegas.
Honda at first received a pound, then later amounts ranging from 3 to 20 pounds and finally, within the past month, 40 pounds, the affidavit said.
Ranney gave Honda the 40 pounds in a box at a Hawai'i Kai home, the affidavit said. Honda was to pay at a rate of $16,500 a pound, the document said.
On Sept. 13, a search of a home of Honda's friend yielded the box and about 35 pounds of ice, the affidavit said.
Honda also had 13 ounces of the drug in a fanny pack when he was arrested that day, the document said.
If convicted, the three men could face prison terms of 10 years to life.
The investigation by DEA agents and Honolulu police was continuing.
U.S. Magistrate Kevin Chang yesterday scheduled a hearing for Thursday to determine whether Santos and Honda should continue to be held without bail. Federal prosecutors are asking they both be held as flight risks and dangers to the community.
Lawyers Joseph Mottl and Arnold Phillips, who represent Santos and Honda, declined to comment on the case.
Seen at http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050920/NEWS20/509200319/1001/NEWS
Here is a classic response of tourists in the islands when it comes to hurricanes LOL
Seen at http://starbulletin.com/2005/09/20/news/index6.html
However local people in Hawai'i realize that if they are not prepared like not stock up on water then it can be extremely difficult. During Hurricane Iniki three people died in 1992:
And in 1946 there was a tsunami that hit Hilo killing 159 people:
Seen at http://www.coffeetimes.com/tsunamis.htm
So we do take hurricanes and other natural disasters very seriously. Or try to.
I'm using black and white as the main colors of this journal because last time I wore white. Next time I'm going to wear black haha