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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, April 6, 2006

HPD officers face indictments

By Peter Boylan and Ken Kobayashi
Advertiser Staff Writers

Federal prosecutors were scheduled to ask a grand jury today to indict an unknown number of Honolulu police officers and others in connection with allegations of cockfights and gambling on Oahu's North Shore.

The indictments would be the culmination of a months-long FBI investigation that included federal authorities searching the homes of several police officers last year.

Details of the allegations or the charges are not made public because grand jury proceedings are secret.

But law enforcement sources close to the case, who all asked not to be named because of the confidential nature of the proceedings, said that the grand jury was to convene today and several officers may be indicted.

The investigation involved allegations that certain police officers were protecting gambling operations, the sources said.

The number of nonpolice officers who are targets of the grand jury session also is unclear. Law enforcement sources said at one point the investigation may have included more than 20 private citizens, including a relative of one of the officers.

FBI agents gathered evidence that has led to investigations that covered allegations of bribery and illegal gambling, law enforcement sources said.

Michael Green, a longtime Honolulu criminal defense attorney, said he represents a private citizen who may be charged in the indictment today.

"Generally, when the federal government does investigations on corruption, which includes gambling, it's reasonable to assume that agents have actually been involved in the games as observers," he said. "It wouldn't be surprising to me that they may have even been sitting there watching bets or chicken fights or card games or dice games or things like that."

Alexander Silvert, first federal assistant public defender, said he represents one of the police officers "who the government claims may have been involved," but Silvert said he doesn't know whether his client will be indicted.

Det. Alex Garcia, O'ahu chapter chairman of the State of Hawai'i Organization of Police Officers, said the union filed grievances on behalf of five officers in connection with the FBI probe. One of the officers has since retired from the department and no one knows what is going to happen with the other four, Garcia said.

"We have to wait until the grand jury comes out," he said.

To issue indictments, the grand jury must find that crimes were probably com-mitted. The indictment would send the cases to trial.

Two messages left with a Police Department representative were not immediately returned yesterday.

Reach Peter Boylan at pboylan@honoluluadvertiser.com and Ken Kobayashi at kkobayashi@honoluluadvertiser.com.