HONOLULU — A Lihue man was convicted of methamphetamine distribution following a five-day trial Friday at U.S. Court in Honolulu.
A federal jury found Matthew Alan Zmuda, 29, guilty of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine from January to April 2012, according to a news release Monday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Roberts prosecuted the case and said Zmuda may face a stiffer sentence for choosing not to accept a plea deal.
“He is a young kid and it is a sad story if you think about it,” Roberts said.
Zmuda was also found guilty of attempting to possess 50 grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, and for conspiring with intent to possess and distribute a detectable amount of heroin.
Zmuda testified in the trial that he was forced to write a confession. The six men and six women jury didn’t buy it, Roberts said, and only took about an hour of deliberating plus a lunch break to return with the verdict.
U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii Florence Nakakuni stated that the evidence showed Zmuda and other individuals agreed to send methamphetamine and heroin to Kauai using a delivery service from California in February, March and April 2012.
Zmuda, who also lived in Kilauea at one time, was the intended recipient of 447 grams of methamphetamine seized by law enforcement at the Honolulu International Airport on April 3, 2012, she added. The packages were addressed to a hotel on Kauai, where Zmuda had arranged to meet and receive the drugs from the provider.
Zmuda faces up to life in prison with a mandatory minimum 20-year term of imprisonment. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor on May 12.
Three others arrested April 2, 2012, for conspiracy to distribute drugs included Antoine Maurice Lewis, 39, of Sacramento; Liann Nuakea Huddy, 34, of Anahola; and Deborah Dee Zmuda, 57, of Hanalei.
Lewis was sentenced in federal court to 14 years prison on May 3, 2013. Huddy was sentenced to one year in prison and five years supervised release on the same day. Zmuda started a three-year prison term on June 10. She is suffering debilitating health issues and was ordered to complete a drug rehabilitation program.
Lewis was the California source who was bringing the meth to Kauai and the Zmuda family was the primary recipient, Roberts said. The operation was moving ounces and had just stepped up to pounds when the investigation broke the case and seized the drugs on Honolulu.