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No bail requested for Brun

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kaua‘i Police Department Chief Todd Raybuck speaks on the multi-agency operation that resulted in the arrest of a dozen people on various drug-dealing charges, flanked by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean Van Demark, left, and Micah Smith, second from left, U.S. Attorney Kenji M. Price, right, Friday during a press conference on the arrests that included Kaua‘i County Councilmember Arthur Brun, at the KPD conference room Friday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kenji M. Price, U.S. attorney, District of Hawai‘i, right, and assistants Micah Smith, center, and Sean Van Demark, lead a press conference Friday at the Kaua‘i Police Department conference room in Lihu‘e concerning several arrests of members of a drug ring including Kaua‘i County Councilmember Arthur Brun.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kenji M. Price, U.S. Attorney, District of Hawai‘i, center, leads the lineup of representatives from the multi-agency operation that resulted in a drug bust and the subsequent arrest of Kaua‘i County Councilmember Arthur Brun, Friday morning at the Kaua‘i Police Department conference room in Lihu‘e. From left are James Morrow, Commander Operations Officer, Air Station Barbers Point; Shameka Jackson, Group Supervisor, U.S. Postal Inspection Service Team; Charles Goodwin, U.S. Marshal Service Fugitive Task Force; Micah Smith and Sean Van Demark, District of Hawai‘i assistant U.S. attorneys; Price; Kaua‘i Police Department Chief Todd Raybuck; John Wilson, acting assistant special agent in charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation; Jonathan Blais, assistant special agent in charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; and Lucia Cabral-Dearmas, acting special agent in charge, federal Department of Homeland Security Investigations.

HONOLULU — U.S. prosecutors Friday asked a federal judge to deny bail for Kaua‘i County Councilmember Arthur Brun, accused of running a drug-trafficking organization, supplying guns, conspiring with a gang leader, requesting sexual favors as payment for drugs and assaulting a law enforcement officer in a case that highlights the hold methamphetamine has on some people on the island and in the state.

Brun was in federal court on O‘ahu Friday afternoon, but before he appeared before the judge, law enforcement held a press conference at Kaua‘i Police Department headquarters in Lihu‘e about the Thursday arrests.

Brun was taken into custody along with 11 others, and faces federal charges related to a massive alleged methamphetamine-distribution ring on Kaua‘i.

At that conference, District of Hawai‘i attorney Kenji Price issued a stern message to people who hold positions of public trust in Hawai‘i: “You are not above the law. Neither position nor privilege will shield you against the accountability that justice requires.”

Price credits collaborating law-enforcement agencies for the arrests. KPD worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other state agencies in an investigation that began in June 2019.

About eight months into the investigation, Brun had been involved in two traffic incidents. The first traffic incident, which occurred in late October, is when Brun is accused of hitting a KPD officer with his car, an officer that was considered a federal officer at the time becuase he was part of the federal investigation into the drug ring.

That drew one of the charges Brun faces — assault on a federal officer — which carries with it a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. The federal indictment further describes that traffic incident: “Brun committed this assault during a traffic stop in an effort to conceal methamphetamine that he had in his possession at the time.”

“Our view is that he led the drug-trafficking organization, and that is what we intend to prove in court,” Price said at the conference, which was set up to inform the public of the charges against Brun.

Price recited much of the indictment that was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawai‘i. He also made clear that all of the arrested defendants are innocent until proven guilty.

Brun and several other defendants pleaded not guilty Friday.

According to the indictment, Brun led a methamphetamine-trafficking organization with the other 11 defendants, and coordinated drug distribution and shipment with a leader from the USO (United Samoan Organization), a Samoan gang that operates in and out of prison systems in Hawai‘i and in California.

Listed as the other defendants who conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute “a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine” with Brun are: Maluelue Umu, Kelvin Kauwila Kai, Steven Keli‘ikuli, Kaniu Huihui, Sheena Millare, Efren Yanos, Kirsten Makanoe Ayau, Orlando Manguchei, Robby Silva, Haidee Sueyasu and Phrystal Bacio.

All defendants except for Manguchei were held at the Federal Detention Center – Federal Prison Bureau near the Honolulu airport until their 2:30 p.m. scheduled court hearing with the honorable Rom Trader, U.S. magistrate judge.

Manguchei was already in federal custody due to a violation of the provisions of his supervised release.

Millare, Yanos and Ayau were released on a $25,000 unsecured bond on Friday.

Brun is facing the potential of life in prison, according to the charges:

w Five counts of the main meth-distribution charge, will could him 10 years to life per count;

w Assault on a federal officer, up to 20 years;

w Obstruction of justice, up to 20 years;

w Conspiracy to illegally possess a firearm, five years;

On Kaua‘i, some community members are rallying to remove Brun from office, a proposition that isn’t easy becuase the Kaua‘i County Charter doesn’t specifically provide for impeachment of those serving two-year terms unless they’ve broken the county’s code of ethics.

Kapahi resident Fern Holland took matters into her own hands after hearing that Brun was arrested, and has started an online petition to remove Brun from the Kaua‘i County Council.

At 11:12 a.m. Friday the petition had 32 signatures, and by 5 p.m. it gained over 300 signatures. She says she needs 3,000 signatures to make some headway on her goal.

“We the voters of Kaua‘i demand that he (Brun) be immediately removed from his council position,” Holland says in the petition. “He has violated the trust of our community. It is an embarrassment that this has continued for as long as it has and atrocious that he remains the vice chair of Public Safety &Human Services Committee.”

She continued: “This investigation into the corruption and drug-trafficking ring he has orchestrated has been going on for nearly a year and the people of Kaua‘i should not have to accept one more day of him as an elected official.”

Mayor Derek Kawakami and Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro both released statements on the arrest Thursday, expressing disappointment in the situation.

Councilmember Mason Chock expressed his own disappointment Friday, calling for Brun’s resignation from the council.

“As councilmembers elected to serve Kaua‘i, we need to be ready and willing to put the needs of the community first. If a member is not ready or willing to do, they are a liability to this county and island,” Chock said.

“Councilmember Brun should do what is right for the people and help to uplift the integrity of the legislative body. He should resign so he can focus on himself and his family.”

Other councilmembers brought up the innocent-until-proven-guilty rule.

“The County Council is required by charter to uphold a presumption of innocence until guilt is proven,” said Councilmember Felicia Cowden. “The county charter does not allow the council to directly remove a colleague from office.”

Cowden said addiction is a health crisis, and that illegal drug distribution has no business in government leadership.

“Our community has a deeply painful problem with dangerous drugs. I applaud our county police and federal law enforcement for an effective effort at the arrest of 12 individuals that have evidence of their involvement with drug trafficking,” Cowden said.

Councilmember Luke Evslin reitterated the importance of public trust and safety, echoing statements that elected officials should be held to “the highest standards.”

“I am hoping that all involved can take the necessary actions so that we can all move forward and heal as an island. There are too many families on Kaua‘i that have been ripped apart by crystal meth, and we need to come together to end this epidemic in our community,” he said.

Councilmember KipuKai Kuali‘i could not be reached for comment, and Councilmember Ross Kagawa declined to comment.

At the federal court hearing held on Friday, Brun and seven other defendants pleaded not guilty, and prosecutors intend to ask the judge to order Brun held without bail through the detention hearing scheduled for Wednesday, March 4 at 1:30 p.m. in federal court in Honolulu.

•••

Stephanie Shinno, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

28 Comments
  1. Vegreef February 29, 2020 4:49 am Reply

    Deal meth and complain about TVRs.


  2. Steven McMacken February 29, 2020 5:11 am Reply

    If drug-trafficking, supplying guns, conspiring with a gang leader, requesting sexual favors as payment for drugs and assaulting a law enforcement officer DOESN’T violate the Kauai County Council’s code of ethics, then what the hell does? REMOVE Brun from the council immediately!!


  3. WestsideResident February 29, 2020 6:19 am Reply

    Raise the standards Kauai. Discard the thug life and attitude. Aloha is missing.


  4. Mauka February 29, 2020 7:21 am Reply

    How do The people of Kauai get access to sign the petition to get this horrible person off the counsel? He doesn’t deserve another dollar from our tax payers.


  5. andy February 29, 2020 8:10 am Reply

    How do we find the online petition to remove Brun from office?


  6. Paulo February 29, 2020 9:20 am Reply

    According to Civil Beat Mayor Kawakami is unfortunately quoted as summing up Brun’s illegality, if convicted, including injuring a 6 year old and a police officer, dealing unregistered firearms, heading up an interstate Samoan drug ring, trading sex for meth, all to addiction. Not his fault. Other people might spend all their income on drugs and maybe lose their homes and families but they don’t do what Brun allegedly did.

    Then we have Council Chair Kaneshiro claiming these alleged felonious incidents are due to personal hardships. Baloney.


  7. jake February 29, 2020 9:29 am Reply

    This one is on the local Kauai voter. You knew he was a criminal before you voted for him. This tells us exactly what kind of people YOU are.


  8. Wailua February 29, 2020 10:17 am Reply

    He isn’t coming out of custody so why bother with signatures? And besides, last time I checked, this was America and there is something called due process. How quickly some of us are to lay judgement on others based on what the media is putting out.


    1. Sum tin's fishey February 29, 2020 1:27 pm Reply

      Look beyond. Think about it! Why would they spend all this money to fly in, pick up this people, fly them to oahu and release 3 of them the next day.? And saying they were not release on bail. The judge granted them with a free plane ticket home.
      When you get release from FDC they don’t give u a plane ticket. Since when they pay to airfair?
      There informants!


  9. Debra Kekaualua February 29, 2020 10:26 am Reply

    Innocent until proven guilty, but then again the judiciary has ZERO jurisdiction and this man will probably be criminalized anyway, when the hierarchy does not include RICO assistance, due to this being a whole lot of individuals like the guilty kealoha stolen mailbox hui that need to be exposed.


    1. Kauaiisfun February 29, 2020 3:15 pm Reply

      How was Brun elected in the first place? Was his prior felony known?


  10. Facts February 29, 2020 10:53 am Reply

    Facts chem bio company supported this fool to poison the island like the chem bio company.

    Facts: kpd leaked info to him that I put his history on blast and he stalked for a minute with one of the Manguchei McDonald working trick.

    I’ve been exposing public corruption like these drug and criminal orgs for over a decade and the powers have a green light on me.

    They used many ppl to attack and spread defamation against me


  11. Citizen Cane February 29, 2020 11:07 am Reply

    I understand ‘innocent until proven otherwise,’ but in this instance the right thing for Brun to do is resign pending the adjudication of his case. There is enough at this point—fleeing from/hitting a cop, tossing out a bag of meth, the recorded drug-ring conversations, the prior drug conviction. Elected officials should be held to higher standards (are you listening, DJT?) and Mayor K and the rest of the council need to get up and back Brun’s immediate removal and restore confidence that they will be tough—even on neighbors, friends, colleagues and relatives—on meth here in our community. Kudos to the cops and Chief Raybuck for working together with the feds and various agencies to get the job done. It looks a lot like professionalism in that department now. Kauai’s embrace of visitors from all over the world means it has a responsibility that reaches beyond the confines of its shores.


  12. Jo808 February 29, 2020 11:17 am Reply

    Wailua, ARE you kidding me.. The media is is reporting a story of a man who has broken the law.. This man has been distributing bad drugs for some time. And the accident of reckless driving that hurt a 6 year old. Before that hit and run involving a federal office so he could throw the drugs out the window. He should not be member of county council any more.


  13. YouKnow February 29, 2020 11:32 am Reply

    You know that the truth is that this is not a one year investigation. There’s people in power that are scared right now because of their connections with the alleged ring leader. There’s people who leaked info to the alleged ring leader that used good tactics in not using electronic communication methods to pass on info.

    This operation has been exposed many years ago.

    Just like the Koloa to Kapahi drug ring, the backyards drug front bar, the drug front businesses, stash houses, importing drugs through the mail and vessels, the county council audits, the highway audits, DLNR audit, the electrical union audit, Chiba bust, exposing the Hawaii Mafia ring leader, Mayor and his cronies, former Police Chief lies and cover ups, The Shapiro OXY pillagers drug ring, the doctor who wrote RX and had a shooting galley at her crib, the protection of the identity of the Kauai serial killer, many unsolved murders and missing people on Kauai, and much much more.

    They attacked, put a bounty, and green light, set up ambushes using local mma schools, and tried to murder the wrong person.

    You all just don’t know.

    You know.


  14. Kauaidoug February 29, 2020 1:01 pm Reply

    Disgusting. If true, he made a lot of money selling drugs to his neighbors. He can’t do his job from jail. Where’s that petition?


  15. tunataxi February 29, 2020 1:17 pm Reply

    Hereʻs an idea…. How about being removed if you canʻt attend meetings. Any council member who misses 4 meetings in a row or more than 6 in any given year be forced to step down.


    1. Kauaigal March 1, 2020 12:19 pm Reply

      The online petition is on Change.org. Just search his name on the home page and it’ll come up. Sign!! Everyone sign!! Clearly we as citizens need to take this into our own hands!


  16. Steve Martin February 29, 2020 1:57 pm Reply

    Fern.. Would you please tell us where to go for signing petition.. As you said Kauai county doesn’t specifically provide for impeachment UNLESS they have broken the county’s code of ethics. I think if they don’t have this Brun by the pelotas by the telling the world, then I doubt if we need to waste any more time on getting Brun off the council, and while we are at it with breaking county codes of ethics lets impeach Kagawa as well, for using county time and equipment to email to public citizens his opinions with foul, prejudice , deliberate nasty uncalled for comments. I allso think that with everything going on, it was not a secret with the council members of what Brun was doing and if found to be true that even a thought of it was going on with any of them they too should be impeached for not coming forward sooner. ,


  17. Steve martin February 29, 2020 2:06 pm Reply

    We shouldn’t just impeach for Bruns actions, but should also include that he pay back all the taxpayer money he collected that was used for his criminal intent.


  18. KHSGRAD February 29, 2020 5:25 pm Reply

    Deborah if you argue there is no jurisdiction…. Then why are referring to the Kealoha’s? Under your argument there is no jurisdiction for them. People here may not like but Hawai’i is part of the USA and USA laws apply….. There absolutely is jurisdiction in both cases and to say otherwise is nonsense. Brun has 3 offenses, 1 Maybe we wait for a verdict, 2 well it’s not looking good but give the benefit of the doubt, but 3, sorry it’s time to resign as he is an embarrassment to Kaua’i and makes the County Council a joke? And these are not new behaviors and blaming it On addiction is naïveté


    1. debra kekaualua March 1, 2020 7:39 am Reply

      Debra is my name. Federal guilty kealoha stollen mailbox, means that the “power couple” have a thousand friends or more awaiting their turn to be exposed! On Kauai especially, the bust was so far down the list, not even the iceberg was tipped! Look at all the current and ex politicians, like ‘gasgate’. Therein, are 25+ guilty stolen mailbox criminals in much higher seating arrangements within the seatings of the senate and house floors of the capitol too! Fake, corrupt, fraud, murder, people and sex trafficking, money laundering, etc, by judges, lawyers, bailiffs, governor, mayors, all county councils and prosecuting attorney on Kauai with One exkpd working in P.A. because no one would hire him as county auditor because of his history!

      Perhaps RICO could break it all down, cuz the new chief has no clue of the last fifty years, I paid attention! New book written by investigator author Benish, The Fifth Seal may wake up everyone, especially the unexposed guilty stolen mailbox crowd of America’s wayward citizen criminals. Brun is primed to take the fall for higher ups that set him up, and we know who those criminals are so well, it is actually funny, that they Think they not going down! Their time can no longer be hidden or deceiving! RICO needs to get to work and uncover, the reality of this game over americanization and those that will do anything and everything to keep secret, the New Reality!


  19. Hawaiian February 29, 2020 5:27 pm Reply

    What don’t you people understand? A million people can sign that pointless petition but it isn’t going to do a damn thing. A petition cannot change the law just because there are people that take everything they hear in the media as undisputed fact, and think they can play judge and jury with some signatures. He will be removed from office, but it will be done through a process to ensure it’s done legally.


  20. Debra Kekaualua February 29, 2020 5:47 pm Reply

    Not even the tip of the iceberg and all proud everyone! All actors! RICO needs to break it down, Top to Bottom, especially in this case!


  21. Jo February 29, 2020 10:10 pm Reply

    So Kawakami and Kaneshiro,,,if an individual who is in a position of Service to the public is having so much Personal Hardships due to addictions. Then just get the hell outa the way.


  22. Wailua March 1, 2020 2:34 am Reply

    No I am not kidding. And I am not saying that I condone anything he has done. What I AM saying is that regardless of how many signatures the petition gets, it won’t get him removed from office. He will be removed once his trial is over and he is found guilty. And that’s what some people are forgetting needs to happen here. Due process. And your comment is just reiterating what I said earlier.


  23. Kalehua March 1, 2020 2:32 pm Reply

    REMOVE BRUN PETITION: http://chng.it/PHvmCT9rnV.

    The charges are serious and this man ought Not to be allowed to be an elected “Public Servant”. If the Only way to get him off the Kaua’i County Council is because of ethical misconduct, well then what is the problem? Does he need to murder someone? Give this guy his due process and the rest of it, yes. If he will not resign, can’t figure out why he wouldn’t, then take him off the council due to moral and ethical violations. The other 2 charges before this bust should be enough for that. Striking a police officer (who now we know was FBI) then speeding off in a police chase (now know he had meth in the car). As if that wasn’t enough ethical concern for a council member, short time later his actions are sending a 6 year old child to the hospital? In a car with NO CAR INSURANCE? This child could have been killed.. this person needs treatment and is a menace to society and our children who suffer from this ice epidemic. I personally have family and friends who have been ruined by ice.


  24. Kalehua March 1, 2020 3:55 pm Reply

    REMOVE BRUN PETITION. http://chng.it/PHvmCT9rnV


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