Probation given in mailed-marijuana case

LIHU’E — The Koloa man who admitted to police he mailed a box of over 10 pounds of marijuana to himself from California to Koloa was sentenced to five years probation Thursday.

Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen N.A. Watanabe denied David Hibbitt’s request for a deferred acceptance of guilty plea, placed him on five years probation with conditions, fined him $5,000, and ordered him to complete 1,000 hours of community service, pay court fees, and submit to drug-testing.

The box containing the marijuana also had a tracking device in it, and Kaua’i Police Department officers following the signal stormed into at least one home in ‘Oma’o before entering the home where the box, Hibbitt, and others were found.

A lawsuit has been filed involving that wrongful entry.

Hibbitt pleaded guilty to first-degree promotion of a detrimental drug in December, and asked that his plea be deferred. Watanabe denied that request.

According to County Prosecutor Craig De Costa, Hibbitt admitted to KPD officers that he bought the marijuana in California, and mailed it to himself on Kaua’i.

Watanabe informed Hibbitt that De Costa recommended a $10,000 fine. She told Hibbitt she could have gone along with the prosecutor’s recommendation.

De Costa said that Watanabe feels Hibbitt is unlikely to commit another crime.

Hibbitt’s attorney, Sam King, said that his client has been addicted to marijuana since he was 11 or 12 years old. King also pointed out that Hibbitt is now married, and has two children.

Additionally, King said, Hibbitt is not a dealer.

Hibbitt, 35, admitted that he had put a lot of stress on his friends, family and co-workers. “I appreciate my friends and family coming to support me,” he said.

Hibbitt was arrested March 15, 2005, after police officers put a transmitter in the box and followed it when Hibbitt picked it up from the Koloa post office. According to court records, the box held almost 11 pounds of marijuana.

KPD officers following the box mistakenly raided a different home than the one to which Hibbitt brought the box.

‘Oma’o couple Sharon and William McCulley claim in a lawsuit that they were falsely arrested and assaulted and battered when their home was invaded by police officers looking for the marijuana box.

KPD officers Scott Kaui and Damien Mendiola are named in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states that KPD officers followed Hibbitt’s Toyota truck onto Kaumuali’i Highway, then followed the truck when it pulled off onto a small, private road that leads to several homes.

The lawsuit states that the truck was not at or near the McCulley home, and the couple was baby-sitting their grand-children when KPD officers broke into the home.

The lawsuit states that Mendiola grabbed Sharon McCulley and threw her to the floor, handcuffed her, and pressed a gun to her head with enough force to leave a mark. Her grandchild was forced to lie near her.

The lawsuit alleges that Mendiola pushed his knee into her back.

According to the lawsuit, William McCulley was standing with a walker and wearing a leg brace that was clearly visible when the officers came into the house.

The lawsuit states that he was ordered to the floor, and was attempting to do so, but was slow because of his disability.

According to the lawsuit, Kaui grabbed William McCulley and threw him to the floor. An electronic shocking device to alleviate pain malfunctioned, causing McCulley to have seizures.

That case is pending.


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