KPD says illegal drug use, sales decreasing

LIHU’E – Over the past three years, the Kaua’i Police Department has slowed

down the sale and use of drugs on the island, Police Chief George Freitas told

the County Council yesterday.

But more government funds, he said, are

needed to step up efforts to curtail the sale of marijuana and crystal

methamphetamine, which is fast becoming the drug of choice on


Between 1997 and 1999, the KPD, Freitas said, has compiled the

following statistics:

* The number of marijuana plants seized dropped from

34,526 to 30,603.

* Seized marijuana dropped from 4,222 to 2,385


* Seized cocaine dropped from 257 to 26 grams.

* Seized heroin

rose from 6.4 to 252 and dropped to 23 grams.

* Seized crystal

methamphetamine from 542 to 628 grams.

* The value of seized property rose

from $23,478 to $334,259.

Councilman Daryl Kaneshiro said the number of

illegal drug seizures reflects an aggressive effort by the police to “whack

them in their pockets.”

Freitas and his staff appeared Wednesday at a

meeting of the Council’s Public Safety/Intergovernmental Relations Committee.

The presentation was requested by Councilman Gary Hooser.

Freitas said

Green Harvest efforts have slowed down the cultivation of marijuana on


In 1999, KPD participated in four Green Harvest operations that

used helicopters to spot and eradicate marijuana plots, said Lt. Clayton

Arinaga, who heads the department’s vice division.

Surveillance of plots,

he said, resulted in multiple arrests and seizure of vehicles and


But, he added, marijuana is still being imported for sale on the


“Over the past year, more and more people are going elsewhere to

get their marijuana,” he said. “Still, we are making a difference as far as

what is available on the island.”

Residents are becoming very concerned

about the sale of crystal in their neighborhoods, said County Councilman Jimmy


The presence of ice houses has become a major concern of

neighborhoods he has visited, Tokioka said.

Property owners want the police

to step in and break up the drug operations, he said. Arinaga said residents

can make calls anonymously, and a police investigator will be assigned to the


So far, police have not identified homes where crystal

methamphetamine is produced, Arinaga said.

Adults on Kaua’i are buying

crystal methamphetamine more than any other drug, he said.

Ecstasy, also

known as the “date-rape drug,” has been made its way to Kaua’i, Arinaga said.

The drug has been used by men to seduce women, he said.

More public

education is needed to stem drug use on the island, Freitas said. In many

cases, residents would have a better idea of how to help police combat drug use

if they knew about the history of the drugs.

Freitas supported a proposal

by Councilmen Bryan Baptiste and Tokioka to have community residents meet to

discuss ways to set up public education programs and to explore ways drug use

can be discouraged on the island.

Freitas said discussion should focus on

how search and seizure powers of police can be strengthened.


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