Eleven suspects arrested in a police undercover operation last year on the Big Island have pleaded guilty in federal court to various drug offenses.
Five have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from two to 10 years, while six await sentencing.
The suspects were among 40 people arrested after a two-month joint operation by the Hawaii County Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The 11 suspects were turned over to federal authorities to face federal prosecution. The rest are to be tried in state courts.
Those receiving federal sentences are Donald Soares, 120 months in prison and eight years of supervised release; Vince Agliam, 50 months in prison and five years of supervised release; James Costa, 41 months in prison, five years of supervised release, a $30,000 fine and $5,000 in restitution; Thomas Wuscher, 24 months in prison, four years of supervised release and a $1,000 fine; and Ronald Auwae, 37 months in prison and five years of supervised release.
Still awaiting sentencing in federal court are John Caputo Jr., Henry Lani, Lance Kailimai, Rafael Solis, Daniel Miller and Zak Shimose, a county firefighter.
Agents from the DEA arrived on the Big Island on Feb. 22, and the joint undercover operation got under way two days later, said Lt. Henry Tavares, commander of the Hawaii County vice squad. The operation focused on the illegal distribution of crystal methamphetamine, cocaine including crack cocaine and heroin in East Hawaii.
The drug operation also seized 10 ounces of crystal meth with an estimated street value of $45,000; 11 ounces of cocaine worth $16,500; 918 marijuana plants and 5.9 pounds of dried, processed marijuana valued at $23,000; and 15.7 grams of heroin worth $3,200.
Also seized was $108,310 in cash, 11 motor vehicles and two motorcycles valued at $50,000, miscellaneous jewelry valued at $30,000 and a surveillance camera valued at $1,000.
[back to top]