West Hawai‘i Officer Honored For Dismantling Major Drug Trafficking Operation
A Hawai‘i Police Department officer who works with the Area II Vice Section in West Hawai‘i was named the Kona Crime Prevention Committee’s Officer of the Month for March.
Officer Justin Gaspar received the award for his work taking down a major drug trafficking operation that was importing more than $1 million worth of narcotics to Hawai‘i Island.
Gaspar initiated a narcotics investigation Nov. 1, 2021, starting with a vehicle interdiction. Early on, he cultivated an informant who developed into a cooperating defendant. During the course of the investigation, it was determined the source of the narcotics was connected to a Mexican source involved with the Mexican Cartel, which was confirmed through an outside agency.
Upon identifying the Hawai‘i Island drug trafficking organization, Gaspar was able to connect the distributors involved. This in turn developed into a criminal conspiracy investigation resulting in the dismantling of the local organization when two people — the main supplier from the mainland and a local conspirator — were arrested.
The main supplier, a 49-year-old man from Tacoma, Wash., was arrested on seven counts of first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and two counts of criminal conspiracy. The local conspirator, a 63-year-old man from Kailua-Kona, was arrested on one count of criminal conspiracy. Both were later transferred to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations on federal charges, and the investigation into the extensive drug network is ongoing.
Through the course of his investigation, Gaspar also was able to provide the HPD Juvenile Aid Section with information about the identity of suspects in a juvenile death investigation.
From this investigation alone, Gaspar drafted more than nine search warrants that resulted in the recovery of 2,303.6 grams, or 5 pounds, of methamphetamine; more than 7,000 fentanyl pills; and 1 kilogram, or 2 pounds, of pure powdered fentanyl with a combined approximate street value of more than $1 million.
A 12-year veteran of the department, Gaspar is also a K-9 handler and works with narcotics canine Boyke.
Officers are nominated for the Kona Crime Prevention Committee honor by their supervisors from the various police districts. A winner is selected by the committee’s board of directors. All officers selected as Officer of the Month are eligible to be selected as the committee’s Officer of the Year.