Kauo pleads not guilty to meth charges

A 35-year-old man who was caught at Lihu’e Airport in October allegedly carrying crystal methamphetamine, or ice, pleaded not guilty recently to charges of methamphetamine trafficking and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Edward Kauo was brought before Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe for arraignment on the felony offenses. He was indicted by members of a Kaua’i grand jury on Monday, Dec. 19, and bail was set at $100,000.

As of late last week, Kauo was being held at the Kaua’i Community Correctional Center.

A jury trial is set for Monday, Feb. 27.

Methamphetamine trafficking is a Class A felony, and carries a mandatory minimum prison term of five years.

Under state law, if a defendant has been convicted of any felony drug offense prior to being convicted of methamphetamine trafficking, conviction for methamphetamine trafficking is punishable by a term of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole, with a mandatory minimum prison term of 15 years and a fine not to exceed $8 million.

Possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class C felony, and carries a maximum prison term of five years.

Kauo was one of two people who were caught at the airport, allegedly with nearly a pound of ice.

Catlin Simpson of Ha’ena was indicted on the same charges, and her bail was set at $21,000. As of Thursday, she hadn’t been picked up or arraigned.

The estimated street value of the seizure is between $200,000 and $225,000, Kaua’i Police Department officials said.

Officers with KPD’s Narcotics Enforcement Unit and Ice Task Force, acting on a credible public tip, arrested Kauo and Simpson when they arrived at the airport Oct. 10, police officials said.

Kauo has another drug case pending. A jury trial in that case is set for Tues-day, Feb. 21.

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