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Kurtistown Man Faces Drug, Firearm Charges in Federal Court

May 18, 2021, 11:14 AM HST
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A federal court judge ordered a Kurtistown man to be detained pending his detention hearing on methamphetamine and firearm charges.

Thirty-six-year-old Jonathan Tai made his initial appearance on Monday, May 17, in the United States District Court in Honolulu in front of United States Magistrate Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield. The appearance followed Tai’s arrest on May 14, at his residence in Kurtistown after the execution of a search warrant for that location.

According to court documents, law enforcement authorities recovered approximately 4,600 gross grams of a substance testing positive for methamphetamine from two mail parcels addressed to a post office box in Mountain View pursuant to a search warrant issued on May 4. No one picked up those parcels, but a review of video surveillance of the same post office showed an individual strongly resembling Tai previously picking up two other mail parcels, and Tai was also previously identified as an individual who received mail at the same post office box to which the searched mail parcels were addressed.

Law enforcement authorities obtained a search warrant for Tai’s home on May 13. The search yielded the discovery of 240 gross grams of a substance testing positive for methamphetamine, more than 2,600 rounds of ammunition, more than $100,000 in US currency, and a bump-stock device allowing a shooter of a semi-automatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger.

Also recovered at the time of the search and Tai’s arrest were a semi-automatic handgun and five “ghost guns,” generally defined as unserialized firearms that are often sold through kits and assembled at home.

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Tai is charged in the criminal complaint with one count of methamphetamine trafficking and one count of possessing the semi-automatic handgun during and in relation to the methamphetamine trafficking. If indicted and convicted on those charges, Tai faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum penalty up to life imprisonment on the methamphetamine charge and, on the firearm charge, a mandatory term of five years in prison consecutive to the imprisonment on the drug charge.

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Tai is scheduled to appear in court for a detention hearing on Thursday, May 20.

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