East Hawaii News

Police Seize 100+ Pounds of Pot, Other Drugs

October 22, 2012, 6:06 PM HST
* Updated October 22, 6:08 PM
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Police last week arrested nine people at the scene of an indoor marijuana-growing operation that they believe is part of a larger drug distribution network.

Numerous tips from the public played a role in the arrests, they said.

Police executed a search warrant Thursday at three adjacent properties on Tiki Lane in the Ainaloa subdivision.

There they seized 321 marijuana plants, 96 young plants known as clones, and nearly 99 pounds of dried marijuana at growing operations at two of the properties. Police also seized 2.5 grams of heroin, 125 grams of hashish and 232 hydrocodone pills.

Police arrested two occupants of the first property, 53-year-old Gilbert Espiritu and 56-year-old Phyllis Morby.

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Also arrested were seven others who were present and believed to be part of the distribution operation: 46-year-old Rachelle Tuvera of Hawaiian Beaches, 43-year-old Sally Blankenship-Ziegler of Oregon, 53-year-old Tobias Nakea of Hawaiian Beaches, 22-year-old Kopia Nakea of Hawaiian Beaches, 19-year-old Kaimana Nakea of Hawaiian Beaches, 28-year-old John Muscat of Mountain View and 57-year-old Vieux Rawls of Mountain View.

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On Friday, another search warrant was used to investigate an indoor growing scheme in a home on Road 8 in Hawaiian Acres where police recovered 465 marijuana plants, 643 clones and 4.2 pounds of dried marijuana.

Police on Saturday went to another home in Hawaiian Acres, this one on Road 7, where more pot plants were being grown indoors and allegedly found 37 plants and 145 grams of marijuana. That same day police seized 48 plants and 3.4 pounds of dried marijuana at a home on 4th Avenue in Hawaiian Paradise Park.

Espiritu was charged Saturday with three counts of promotion of marijuana, two counts each of promoting a dangerous drug and a harmful drug, and 10 counts of possessing drug paraphernalia. His bail was set at $94,000.

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Morby was charged with the same offenses, as well as a count of promoting a detrimental drug. She was initially being held in lieu of $98,000.

The remaining suspects were released without charges pending additional investigation.

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