Kaua’i man picked up on firearms charges

A Kaua’i man remains in custody at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center after his arrest Monday morning related to charges of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Daniel Lee Isobe, 35, of Kapa’a, was arrested Monday morning by federal agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) based on a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court that charged him with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Isobe was flown to Honolulu and made an initial appearance in court before United States Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang, who ordered Isobe detained without bail until a preliminary hearing on Aug. 5.

Until then, Isobe will be kept in custody at the Honolulu federal detention center, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Recktenwald.

A felon convicted of possession of a firearm can face a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment. Isobe’s prior felony convictions referred to in the criminal complaint leading to his arrest are theft, burglary and escape, Recktenwald said.

Monday’s arrest was coordinated by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and assisted by the County of Kaua’i Police Department’s Investigative Services and Vice Unit; state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE); and National Marine Fisheries Service Enforcement.

Isobe is also under investigation by DOCARE in connection with taking Hawaiian green sea turtles from Moloa’a Bay, a violation of the Endangered Species Act.

The DOCARE investigation started on June 16, 2002, when carcasses of four green sea turtles were found on Moloa’a Bay, officials said.

“When they initially started their investigation, they found a firearm,” said Tracy Elder, Hawai’i supervisor of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, of the DOCARE investigation.

“The firearm that this case is centered around was recovered during the execution of a federal search warrant at his (Isobe’s) home. That search warrant was seeking evidence related to the alleged unlawful taking of green sea turtles,” said Recktenwald.

Elder, of the ATF, said that the arrest occurred in connection with a nationwide initiative spurred by President George Bush called “Project Safe Neighborhoods,” which kicked off in Hawai’i on Feb. 20. This is the second Project Safe Neighborhoods arrest on Kaua’i.

Project Safe Neighborhoods works by specifically networking agencies that target gun crime, according to www.psn.gov.

Working in conjunction with United States Attorneys and State Prosecutors offices, PSN hopes to reduce possession of firearms by felons, just one of its aims on reducing gun crime in America.

The green sea turtle, or honu, was listed as an endangered species in 1978. The species is protected by state and federal laws and is included on the Indigenous and Threatened Wildlife list.

Catching, possession, killing, selling and offering for sale any green sea turtle carries a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment and a $25,000 fine.

This case is ongoing and may lead to other charges and the arrests of others, according to NMFS Special Agent Victor Honda and DOCARE officials.

In 2001, Isobe was sentenced to six months imprisonment in a mainland federal penitentiary for violating the Endangered Species Act and Lacey Act in connection with taking and transporting green sea turtles.

Isobe completed a six-month term of probation in May, a DOCARE official, after being released from a mainland federal penitentiary this January.

The public’s assistance is being requested in this ongoing investigation. Please call Crime Stoppers at 241-6787, DOCARE at 274-3521, or NMFS Special Agent Victor Honda at 541-2727. Calls may be made anonymously.

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