Five police charged in FBI investigation
Four Honolulu police officers and a former officer were indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday in connection with a two-year federal investigation of illegal cockfights and gambling operations in Waialua.
Two officers and a third who resigned after the start of the investigation are charged with trying to protect an illegal gambling operation involving cockfights, craps and card games in an area across the street from Waialua Elementary School.
Another officer was charged in a separate indictment with hiding cockfight gaffs sought by the FBI in its investigation last year.
In a third indictment, another officer was charged with possessing an unregistered machine gun that authorities say they found at his home.
Federal prosecutors and Honolulu Police Chief Boisse Correa declined to comment pending a news conference by U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo this afternoon.
But the criminal charges represent what is believed to be the most widespread allegations of misconduct by the largest number of Honolulu police officers in years.
The investigation began in late 2003 after federal agents received allegations that Honolulu police officers were helping set up, run and protect cockfights that are illegal, but that police say are common. The cockfights took place each weekend from January to late July at secluded areas on O'ahu.
Other forms of gambling, such as Texas Hold 'Em poker, blackjack, pipito and craps, also take place at cockfight locations, police said.
ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE
The four officers named in the indictments are on paid administrative leave, according to the State of Hawai'i Organization of Police Officers, and a grievance has been filed on their behalf.
Officers Kevin Brunn and Glenn Miram and former officer Bryson Apo are charged with conspiring to assist the Waialua gambling operation. Six others, including four related to each other, are also charged with running what was described as an illegal gambling business. The six are Douglas Gilman Sr., Douglas Gilman Jr., Charles Gilman, William Gilman, John Saguibo and Micha Terragna.
Brunn also was charged with extorting money from Charles Gilman by threatening him that he would be in prison if Brunn had not warned the Waialua gambling operation about raids. Brunn and Terragna received four payments in January and February last year totaling $3,600, the indictment said.
The second indictment alleges officer John Edwin Cambra IV and his father, John Edwin Cambra III, tried to prevent the FBI on June 21, 2005, from recovering cockfight gaffs from the family's farm during a search.
Officer Barry Tong was charged in the third indictment with possessing on May 24 last year an Israel Military Industries, Model B, 9 mm caliber carbine. FBI agents confiscated the officer's weapons, including the machine gun, after receipts taken from the officer's home during a search two months earlier indicated he had a large gun collection, according to authorities.
The indictment alleging the illegal Waialua gambling operation accuses Brunn, Miram and Apo of trying to thwart the enforcement of criminal laws and facilitate the gambling.
According to the indictment:
Alexander Silvert, first assistant federal public defender who represents Apo, said his client had been issued a penal summons to show up in court the week of April 17. "When this investigation began, he did resign," Silvert said. "We've just been waiting patiently for the charges to be filed."
Silvert said Apo will plead not guilty.
A SIDE BUSINESS
John Edwin Cambra III, also known as "Uncle Butch" and father of the police officer, owns and operates Cambra Game Fowl Farm/Onipa'a and sells fighting roosters to cockfighters on Guam and in Latin America, Micronesia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, California and New Mexico from his family's 30-acre compound in Kahalu'u. His son also lives on the property.
The father's roosters range from $300 to $1,200 for a multi-hued gamecock that could double as a show bird.
He said in an interview last year that he made $21,000 selling birds in 2004 and has said the business helped him put two sons and a daughter through college.
A 2003 federal law prohibits the interstate transportation of chickens for fighting purposes, so Cambra tells buyers to sign affidavits saying they won't use the bird for fighting.
When reached by phone yesterday, the father declined comment.
"I don't know nothing," he said.
Cambra's son and the other officers and the men named in yesterday's indictments could not be reached for comment.
FBI special agent Brandon Simpson declined to comment on the indictments or the bureau's role in the investigation.
Correction: Micha Terragna's name was misspelled in a previous version of this story. She is one of six people charged with running an illegal gambling business.