LIHUE — A Kekaha man was charged Friday in U.S. District Court in Honolulu after he fell asleep in a car next to a pump-action shotgun.
Austin Borja-Haumea, 23, got into trouble with federal authorities late one night in February 2018, when a Kauai Police Department officer conducting checks on his beat came across a parked vehicle with an expired safety check and a man with two outstanding warrants in the driver’s seat, according to charging documents in the case.
In an affidavit attached to the criminal complaint against Borja-Haumea, Special Agent Christopher Lewis with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said that when the KPD officer approached the vehicle to ask for the driver’s license and registration, he saw “an unconscious male in the front passenger seat,” later identified as Borja-Haumea.
While attempting to wake the sleeping man, the officer “observed what appeared to be a pump-action shotgun between the passenger seat and the passenger door.” After police “removed” him from the car, Borja-Haumea allegedly told them the weapon belonged to the driver, explaining, “I didn’t know about the shotgun. I couldn’t see it because it was dark.”
“When asked to explain,” the affidavit said, Borja-Haumea “stated that he lied at first and that he had taken the shotgun out and handled it,” but said they didn’t fire it because they couldn’t find the bullets and later “indicated that the gun was not his” but that it belonged to the driver of the vehicle.
The driver of the vehicle told police a different story, according to the ATF agent’s affidavit, which said the man told officers that Borja-Haumea brought the shotgun along when he picked him up earlier that night on the way to a family cabin in Koke‘e.
The affidavit said police got a warrant, searched the vehicle and found a Winchester Model 1400, 12-gauge shotgun. An ATF agent later analyzed the weapon and concluded that it was not manufactured in Hawaii, meaning the shotgun had crossed state lines and into federal jurisdiction.
That turned out to be of special significance in Borja-Haumea’s case because federal laws prohibit those who are subject to domestic-violence-protection orders from possessing, transporting, shipping or receiving any firearm. Two months before he was found sleeping next to the shotgun, Borja-Haumea’s girlfriend had taken out a restraining order against him.
The crime is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Caleb Loehrer, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.