The FBI yesterday announced six arrests in what it called the breakup of a "large-scale heroin distribution ring" operating in the Chinatown area.
Narcotics and drug paraphernalia, two guns and more than $20,000 were seized as the result of the investigation targeting "street-level" sales of Mexican black tar and China white heroin in the College Walk area near Nuuanu Stream, officials said.
"These guys are longtime players. They are well-known," one law enforcement official said. The investigation was conducted by the FBI and Honolulu police with help from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Arrested were David Enriquez Pelen, Nuuanu Avenue; John J. Klaverweiden, who lists a YMCA apartment number; Marian Sung Soon Sutton, Aala Street; Sio Masitalo Ioane, North Beretania Street; Michael E. Cabanlet, who gave Aala Street and Kaluhikai Lane addresses; and Everett Quon Leong Mun, Pearl City.
All were to appear before a U.S. magistrate yesterday to face narcotics distribution and conspiracy to distribute narcotics charges, authorities said. A seventh person, Mila W. Arlett, who lived with Pelen, is being sought, the FBI said.
Authorities said they believe the suspects sold Mexican black tar heroin for about $300 a gram and China white heroin for about $600 a gram, authorities said. Drugs, a .38-caliber revolver, .22-caliber pistol and more than $20,000 were said to have been seized from the suspects homes. Information on the amount of drugs seized was not immediately available. Keith Kamita, state narcotics enforcement chief, said Honolulu is one of many American cities experiencing a resurgence in heroin use.
Although his agency expends more effort against crystal methamphetamine than heroin, Kamita said, an increase in prescription forgeries suggests heroin use is up. "When they (heroin users) cant get heroin, they use pharmaceutical drugs to tide them over," Kamita said.