One of several drugs driving crimeBY DENNIS WILKEN
TGI Staff Writer
Kaua’i County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Soong believes
that behind almost all of the crime on Kaua’i, there is one overriding
Soong stresses that point in his section of the county’s
annual 1998-99 report and in conversations.
“Drug prosecutions continue to
be a major focus of the (prosecutor’s) office,” which recognizes that “most of
the crime occurring on the island of Kaua’i is drug-related. Whether the crime
is a property crime, or a crime against another person, they often stem from
drug abuse,” Soong stated in the report.
“I think the most important thing
is that methamphetamine and other drugs probably are the driving force behind
all of our cases. We see it as the reason for thefts, robberies, burglaries,
family abuse,” Soong reiterated Thursday. “From a practical experience, I’ve
seen it destroy families, seen people lose their livelihoods, their homes,
Because of that, Soong has made a priority of prosecuting drug
offenders during his first four years in office.
In 1995-96, before he took
over Kauai’s prosecutorial reins, there were 66 drug charges. That number has
grown steadily since Soong became prosecuting attorney: 183 in 1996-97, 216 in
1997-98 and 232 in 1988-99.
Soong said the local drug trade, if not the
Cosa Nostra, is at least loosely organized.
“I think the point is, it’s
usually tied to Honolulu or somewhere else off-island” where drugs are
manufactured, he said.
Soong said he and his deputies see some of the same
offenders over and over.
Statistics recently released by the Kaua’i Police
vice unit back up Soong’s contention that methamphetamine is a growing
“The amount of ice (methamphetamine) seized is 25 times the amount
of cocaine seized in the past year,” Soong said, referring to 628 grams of meth
compared to 25.7 grams of cocaine and 22.7 grams of heroin last
“That’s not even an ounce of cocaine. I think the cocaine users are
probably going over” to meth, Soong said.
Police investigated 299
drug-related cases in 1996.
That number jumped to 444 by 1998.
1996, police carried out 46 search warrants in connection with drug-related
crime; 97 warrants were executed two years later.
State experts estimate
there are at least 35,000 hardcore methamphetamine users in Hawai’i.
According to Soong, a fair percentage of them are living — and getting
high on ice — on Kaua’i.
Staff writer Dennis Wilken can be reached at
245-3681 (ext. 252) and firstname.lastname@example.org