Prem pleads guilty to drug charges

LIHU’E — A Kapa’a man pleaded guilty to an amended drug count in exchange for two others being dismissed.

Anthony Prem Sr. faced a felony drug charge that carried a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Last week, in a plea agreement, that count was amended to a felony drug count that carries a maximum of five years in prison.

Under the plea agreement, if Prem pleaded guilty to the amended charge, two other felony counts were to be dismissed.

Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen N.A. Watanabe accepted Prem’s guilty plea, and set sentencing for June 15.

Watanabe was not bound by the plea agreement that was worked out between Prem, his attorney, and attorneys in the county prosecutor’s office.

At the hearing, Prem’s attorney, June Ikemoto, said that she will drop pursuit of a court order to suppress a statement Prem made to the police, and a court order to throw out of court evidence seized by police.

According to court records, Prem, 59, was arrested May 23, 2005, after Kaua’i Police Department officers carried out a search warrant.

The officers searched Prem and his vehicle at the Rice Shopping Center, and found more than an eighth of an ounce of cocaine, along with Vicodin and Lorcet pills.

In court records, Ikemoto sought to keep out of court a typed statement prepared by a police investigator that Prem signed but said he did not read, because he cannot read.

Ikemoto wrote that she believed that Prem also may not have voluntarily waived his right to remain silent.

Additionally, she claimed that Prem did not know the contents of the statement because he is not able to read and understand what was presented to him.

In court records, Ikemoto also sought to keep out of court evidence that was seized when the search warrant was carried out because there was a lack of probable cause for the issuance of the search warrant.

Ikemoto pointed out in court records that the officer who obtained the search warrant based it on what a confidential source said.

Ikemoto claimed that the officer’s statement about the confidential source’s reliability and credibility was not conclusive, and lacked detail.

Therefore, there was no probable cause for the issuance of the search warrant, she argued.

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