Vegas trio guilty of Hawai‘i meth trafficking

HONOLULU — A federal jury found Benjamin Acuna, Anabel Valenzuela and Eddy Olguin, all of Las Vegas, Nev., guilty of conspiracy to distribute and possess, with intent to distribute, roughly one ton of methamphetamine in Hawai‘i earlier this week, according to a statement from the United States Department of Justice.

Edward H. Kubo, Jr., United States Attorney for Hawai‘i, said during the five-week trial that Acuna and Valenzuela, husband and wife, were leaders of a large drug trafficking organization which shipped thousands of pounds of methamphetamine from Las Vegas to Hawaii from 2002 through 2005.

Acuna and Valenzuela, who each face a possible life sentence with a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of ten years, will be sentenced on Jan. 5 by U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway.

The jury also ordered Acuna and Valenzuela to forfeit $8 million as an estimate of the organization’s profit from the sale of 2,000 pounds of methamphetamine, the statement said.

Olguin, who assisted in the day-to-day operations of the organization, will be sentenced on Dec. 15.

Another co-conspirator, Antonio Santos, 40, of Waipahu, was sentenced on Tuesday to 20 years in prison for his role in the operation.

According to the statement, Santos received one-pound quantities of methamphetamine in parcels mailed from Las Vegas. Santos distributed the drugs and then mailed back packages full of cash to Acuna and Valenzuela.

To date, 21 individuals have been convicted of federal drug offenses in connection with the ring.

The case was the culmination of a three-year investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.

The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark A. Inciong and Clare E. Connors.

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