HPD Investigates Missing Evidence: Cocaine
In October 2017, both criminal and administrative investigations were initiated after it was discovered that cocaine recovered as evidence in 2014 was found to be lighter in weight 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 quickly identified a sworn employee as being a person of interest for the missing portions of the drug.
The employee was immediately placed on administrative leave without pay and subsequent audits of other evidence recovered by the officer revealed other anomalies which revealed cases in which there was a weight discrepancy in marijuana concentrate (hashish) from two separate investigations. Those investigations had been suspended because there were no suspects.
The identified employee has since retired and is no longer employed by the county. The department has tightened up procedures in order to ensure a similar scenario cannot be repeated. The department has also conducted additional audits to ensure these incidents have not been committed by anyone else.
The criminal investigation which included consultation and collaboration with the Hawai‘i County prosecuting attorney’s office was formally referred to the prosecutor’s office for review on March 2, 2018. Because the investigation has been turned over to the prosecutor’s office, further comments regarding this matter will not be made.