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Drug charges dismissed

LIHU’E — Drug charges in two cases against a defendant will be dismissed after allegations of misconduct by three Kaua’i Police Department vice officers were revealed in court records.

Defendant Crystal Battulayan faced a total of 11 counts in two cases.

On Thursday, a hearing on motions to suppress a statement and evidence seized in one drug case was to be heard before Fifth Circuit Judge Kathleen N.A. Watanabe.

However, that hearing did not take place as scheduled because Battulayan’s attorney, Michael Soong informed Watanabe that the charges will be dismissed in exchange for Battulayan admitting to violating probation in other cases.

Allegations of officer misconduct were revealed in court records about Wesley Perreira, Lawrence Stem and Channing Tada’s trip to Maui last year, about whether or not they actually attended an indoor-marijuana-investigation course.

Soong subpoenaed the officers to testify in court, and he also subpoenaed other KPD officers and employees for any records of the trio’s trip to Maui.

At a January hearing, Soong pointed out in court that he wanted the records to check out the officers’ credibility. Also, he pointed out that he believed that an investigation was going on about the officers’ trip to Maui.

In court records, Soong wrote that KPD records may contain information that the officers obtained a rental car and rooms using county or federal money.

Soong also wrote that the officers did not attend the training, and submitted false documents indicating that they did attend.

The allegations of officer misconduct are now the subject of an investigation by the state attorney general’s office.

Additionally, the allegations were brought up in KPD Assistant Chief Clayton Arinaga’s whistleblowers’ lawsuit against the county.

Court records revealed that Soong also subpoenaed KPD records, reports or photographs of strip searches done by KPD officers at the cellblock or else-where during 2005 and 2006.

That request was brought up by Soong because his client told him that she had heard about officers doing body-cavity searches at the cellblock, and taking pictures.

That request was dropped last month after Soong worked out an agreement with attorneys in the county prosecutor’s office to have two drug charges dismissed.

Battulayan, 32, of ‘Aiea on O’ahu, faced six drug counts in one case, and five drug counts in another case. The charges were brought against her last year by the Kaua’i grand jury.

She is being held at the Kauai Community Correctional Center on $70 ,000 bail for both cases.

Jury trials in both cases were scheduled to begin April 17.

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