Brun sentenced to 20 years for Kaua‘i drug trafficking ring

  • Courtesy photos

    Former Kaua‘i County Councilmember Arthur Brun was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday. At left is his formal photo as a councilmember, and at right is his arrest photo.

LIHU‘E — U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson sentenced former County Councilmember Arthur Brun to a term of 20 years imprisonment without possibility of parole at a hearing Wednesday morning for charges related to running a drug-trafficking ring on Kaua‘i.

“Although the defense disagrees with the severity of the sentence, it is clear from comments made during the hearing that the judge considered all the factors in mitigation and aggravation before imposing the sentence he believed to be warranted under the circumstances,” said Brun’s lawyer Rustam Barbee.

Brun, now 50, will be 70 upon his release.

In March, Watson rejected a plea deal Brun had reached with prosecutors, claiming that the 15-year sentence was too lenient.

Brun reaffirmed his guilt in an O‘ahu courtroom Wednesday, admitting to 10 felonies ranging from drug distribution, assault of a federal officer, attempting to obtain a weapon for a felon, and evidence- and witness-tampering.

Watson sentenced Brun to 240 months for nine of the counts and 60 months for the weapons charge, with all terms to run at the same time. Brun was also sentenced to an additional five years of supervised release.

The court recommended that Brun be placed in Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island, a low-security prison in Los Angeles. Lompoc FCI, a low-security prison in California, and Sheridan FCI, a medium-security prison in Oregon, were listed as the second and third choices, respectively.

They also recommended that Brun be placed in a 500-hour residential-drug-abuse program and that he receive a mental-health assessment and vocational and educational training.

The former councilmember faced charges in the early 2000s for theft, domestic violence, computer fraud and drug possession, but after serving a couple brief jail sentences and receiving drug treatment, he appeared to have turned his life around.

He began working as a third-party coordinator at the agrichemical company Syngenta, and in 2014 won a seat on the Kaua‘i County Council. In a 2014 interview with Kaua‘i Eclectic, he reported that he’d “been clean for 10 years.”

In 2016, he was working with the Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center Church on the Beach program, where he would transport inmates in community custody to and from church events on various Sundays.

Around 2018, according to a sentencing memo from District of Hawai‘i U.S. Attorneys, Brun fell back into drug use and began selling meth to feed his habit, working with some of the same prisoners he had transported at KCCC.

One of those inmates was Maluelue Umu, who allegedly had connections to the United Samoan Organization gang and who was later indicted along with the former councilmember.

Brun is described in the memo as a “careless and reckless” trafficker, who didn’t make much money from trafficking activities, and who would sometimes spend days not participating in illegal activities because he was recovering from heavy drug use.

Then a sitting councilmember, Brun was arrested by Kaua‘i police in Oct. 2019 after a brief car chase, during which he injured a Kaua‘i Police Department officer and threw a one-pound bag of methamphetamine out his vehicle window.

While out on bail, he was involved in a car accident where he crossed the center line, injuring himself, another driver and a 6-year-old boy. At the time, Brun had been transporting meth and cash, according to court documents.

He was arrested again and indicted in February 2020 along with 11 others. Each of the co-defendants in the case, including Umu, have also pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

Though he was stripped of his voting rights on the council, Brun continued to receive a salary from the county until Dec. 2020.

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Guthrie Scrimgeour, reporter, can be reached at 647-0329 or gscrimgeour@thegardenisland.com.

8 Comments
  1. sandi May 25, 2022 4:31 pm Reply

    I am pleased to hear that the Judge sentenced properly. It is refreshing at lack of a better word, that others are held accountable for their actions. This world will not get any better, if we don’t start holding individuals accountable and quit worrying about offending others.


  2. Honey Girl May 25, 2022 5:52 pm Reply

    Lesson learned is to not elect a politician that already had a criminal record prior to ever running for office.

    I feel sorry for his family, though. They are innocent but still had to suffer.


    1. Kahea May 26, 2022 11:21 am Reply

      I think this is a pretty harsh penalty. 20yrs? Murders get 20 yrs … Hes gonna have it hard, everyone should think about what they say, and how it will affect Arthur and his family. This guy made a mistake, a few more than others (that we know of because his life was made public) public figures make mistakes too… Do not judge unless your closet is clean … Me personally, no one’s mistakes should be put out in the publics eye to be scrutinized or bashed. God bless


  3. Charlie Marshland May 26, 2022 6:09 am Reply

    Kpd dirty syndicate pig mafia home grown terrorists used their IT Dept. to leak info to this clown and he stalked me and got got by big brother.

    Da legend continues.


    1. Michael May 29, 2022 10:42 am Reply

      All I can say is he who is without sin , let him cast the first stone. He has a chance to get cleaned, and start over. Everyone makes mistakes. We should try help this man get better. He has to do his part if he wants to better him self. He knows what he did. The hope is he makes changes to help himself, family, and others. All up to him.


  4. Lone Ranger May 26, 2022 7:51 am Reply

    Kauai and the state of Hawaii has a huge public corruption problem because they believ they are untouchable. The Feds prove them otherwise.

    Feel free to file complaints with federal agencies on other public corruption and RICO concerns.


  5. Johnny Mahoe May 26, 2022 8:27 am Reply

    People warned everybody that he was involved in the meth scene when he was running for office . I remember Dustin Barca being bombarded on social media from his supporters for exposing this . Arthur has been a on and off addict for a long time . I know , i am from the west . He would give all the seed workers meth . He always has been a dirty dog …


  6. Kahea May 26, 2022 11:22 am Reply

    I think this is a pretty harsh penalty. 20yrs? Murders get 20 yrs … Hes gonna have it hard, everyone should think about what they say, and how it will affect Arthur and his family. This guy made a mistake, a few more than others (that we know of because his life was made public) public figures make mistakes too… Do not judge unless your closet is clean … Me personally, no one’s mistakes should be put out in the publics eye to be scrutinized or bashed. God bless


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