Grand jury indicts 8 on charges of smuggling meth
By Peter Boylan
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Peter Boylan
A federal grand jury yesterday returned indictments against eight people accused of smuggling crystal methamphetamine from Mexico into the Islands and selling it on Kaua'i and O'ahu.
According to documents filed in U.S. District Court:
Carlos Martinez, Derek Tanaka, Rick Shigeo Takimoto, Wayne Nobu Ishizaki, Elida Salazar, Miriam Lizarraga-Salazar and Cory Keoni Silva are accused of conspiring to possess and sell more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. If convicted, they could face up to life in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.
Trial has been set for Jan. 31.
Agents said they confiscated more than two pounds of methamphetamine and $319,560 in cash.
It is believed the group was smuggling "multiple pounds" of methamphetamine into the state over an unspecified period. In June, the group caught the attention of Honolulu police, Kaua'i police, agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
All except Martinez are being held at the O'ahu federal detention center. Most were arrested in November.
Federal law enforcement officials are looking for Martinez and two associates, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Martinez is a U.S. citizen who had lived in Waipahu but may be somewhere in California or Mexico, officials said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Inciong, who prosecuted the case, declined comment.
Martinez allegedly hired couriers to smuggle methamphetamine into California from labs in Mexico, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
The same couriers would then strap the product to their bodies under their clothes and board commercial flights bound for Honolulu. The methamphetamine was delivered to members of the group in various meeting places on O'ahu and Kaua'i, including the Home Depot store in Pearl City, according to the indictment.
Martinez allegedly made many of the deliveries and traveled between Hawai'i and California, according to the indictment.
Reach Peter Boylan at email@example.com.