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Kaua‘i County Councilman Indicted on Drug Trafficking Charges

February 28, 2020, 2:48 PM HST
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A multi-agency drug investigation on Kaua‘i led to the arrest of 12 people, including county council member, Arthur Brun.

According to a federal indictment unsealed Thursday, Brun was charged with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. The 48-year-old is facing additional charges of assault on a federal law enforcement officer, witness tampering, evidence tampering and firearm offenses.

“The suspects under indictment today were identified as part of a major drug trafficking organization that has been supplying a significant amount of methamphetamine throughout the community,” said Kaua‘i Chief of Police Todd G. Raybuck. “They now face felony charges under a federal indictment for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and other crimes.”

Also facing drug and firearm offenses are Maluelue Umu, 50, Kelvin Kauwila Kai, 38, Steven Keli‘ikuli, 50, Kaniu Huihui, 39, Sheena Millare, 37, Efren Yanos, 57, Kristen Makanoe Ayau, 36, Orlando Manguchei, 48, Robby Silva, 57, Haidee Sueyasu, 43, and Phrystal Bacio, 37.

A narcotics investigation instigated by KPD revealed a drug trafficking organization that was responsible for selling large quantities of methamphetamine on Kaua‘i.

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Due to the size and scope of the investigation, KPD partnered with a number of federal law enforcement partners – the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Homeland Security Investigations; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawai‘i; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force; and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Team.

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According to the federal indictment, Brun ran this drug trafficking conspiracy while, at the same time, serving on the Kaua‘i County Council and the Vice Chair of its Public Safety & Human Services Committee. One of Brun’s suppliers of methamphetamine was Umu, a leader of the United Samoan Organization, a gang that operates both inside and outside of the prison system in the State of Hawai‘i.

The indictment indicates that on or about Oct. 29, 2019, Brun assaulted a state law enforcement officer during a traffic stop in an effort to hide a pound of meth the 46-year-old had concealed in a backpack.

“The officer asked Brun to get out of his car and gave him other instructions,” the indictment states. “Instead of complying with the officer’s commands, Brun placed the vehicle in drive and sped off, injuring the police officer, who had his hand and shoulder in the car as he tried to remove the keys from the ignition.”

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Court documents go on to state that the councilman led police on a high speed chase during which he threw the backpack out of the car.

“After the assault, Brun made efforts to conceal the methamphetamine to avoid its use in any official proceeding by attempting to corruptly persuade another person to provide false information to the KPD about the ownership of the backpack,” the indictment states.

In January 2020, Keli‘ikuli possessed a Smith and Wesson .38 Special, and six rounds of ammunition, after having been convicted of a felony. Also in January 2020, Silva possessed various sizes, calibers, and types of ammunition after having been convicted of a felony. In about October 2019, Brun conspired to supply a firearm and ammunition to Manguchei, despite both men having previously been convicted of a felony.

Eleven of the defendants were arrested yesterday and were arraigned in federal court today before the Honorable Rom Trader, United States Magistrate Judge. The twelfth defendant, Manguchei, was already in federal custody serving a sentence for violating the terms of supervised release.

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