HONOLULU — Kalaheo resident Raymond Reyes pleaded not guilty in federal court Thursday to drug and gun possession charges.
Reyes, 50, appeared before Magistrate Judge Barry M. Kurren in U.S. District Court. He was arrested by federal Drug Enforcement Agency officers at a home in Waimea at noontime Wednesday and was transferred to the federal detention center on O‘ahu that afternoon.
An indictment was returned by a federal grand jury July 24, charging Reyes with knowingly or intentionally distributing or possessing with the intent to distribute 5 grams or more of methamphetamine; and unauthorized possession of a firearm with a prior conviction for a misdemeanor domestic violence crime. According to police records, Reyes was first arrested October 16 by KPD patrol officers. The officers were checking a report that a man was selling drugs from a vehicle parked at Kikialoa Boat Harbor in Waimea.
It was discovered that Reyes was in possession of a .38-caliber revolver and 10 rounds of ammunition, according to U.S. Attorney Beverly Sameshima. Reyes is being represented by federal public defender Donna Gray. The case is Reyes’ first drug arrest.
Reyes was subject to federal prosecution because he was either engaged in drug trafficking or is a user of illegal drugs. The circumstances of the case put him within the goals of the federal Project Safe Neighborhoods program, said County First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Craig De Costa. There are other people prohibited from possessing a gun that didn’t apply in this case, such as fugitives, people committed to mental institutions, those with a dishonorable discharge from the armed services, illegal aliens or those who gave up U.S. citizenship.
De Costa said that under PSN, local prosecutors can refer cases to federal agencies that are normally handled on the local level but violate both state and federal laws. Some goals of PSN are to reduce gun crimes by keeping guns away from felons, drug dealers and violent criminals.
Some criteria for referring a case include: What the probable sentences will be in state court as opposed to federal court; whether prosecution of the defendant will help accomplish the goals of the program; and the need to keep the defendant in custody pending trial.
While probation is now mandatory for first-time drug offenders on the state level, sentencing will be severer for people who are found guilty on the federal level.
For instance, Reyes’ drug charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years and a maximum 40 years, as well as a fine of up to $2 million. The firearms charge has a maximum sentence of 10 years.
Reyes had been released on bail twice pending trial and was twice arrested for contempt of court for not appearing in Fifth Circuit Court. At the time of his arrest, Reyes was out on bail pending a court appearance.
For more information about Project Safe Neighborhoods, access http://www.psn.gov.