Pair plead not guilty

HONOLULU — Two men arrested during a large crystal methamphetamine drug bust on Kauai in March entered not guilty pleas in federal court on Oahu Wednesday.

Steve Pete Orozco II, 28, of Stockton, California and his cousin Andrew J. Martinez, 24, of Hanamaulu, pleaded not guilty to meth trafficking charges, according to an Associated Press report. Orozco is also charged with possessing a stolen handgun with a scratched-off serial number.

A judge is allowing Martinez to be released to a halfway house. Orozco continues to be held at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center.

Following a drug investigation by the Kauai Police Department, the search of the house occupied by Martinez and Orozco on March 8 resulted in the recovery of about $2,000 in cash, a stolen handgun, miscellaneous illicit drugs, and more than seven pounds of methamphetamine, which police is worth about $1.6 million in street value.

Based on the investigation, KPD officers applied for and were granted a search warrant for the home in Hanamaulu.

The men were arrested on charges of meth trafficking, drug paraphernalia, promotion of a dangerous drug, theft, and alteration of identification marks prohibited, as the serial numbers on the stolen handgun has been tampered with.

Kauai Police Chief Darryl Perry said this was the largest amount of crystal methamphetamine the department has seized in a single incident.

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