Secretary with FBI linked to drug ring
A trusted FBI secretary is accused of leaking sensitive information to drug traffickers, authorities say. It was the investigation into her case that led to a two-year probe that culminated this week in charges against four Honolulu police officers, a former police officer and many civilians.
Charmaine Moniz — who started working in the FBI organized-crime and drug unit in 1999 — was charged with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine by disclosing "sensitive" information from FBI computers to help a drug ring avoid detection.
The 35-year-old Waimanalo woman is accused of providing the information to her husband, Eric Moniz, who gave it to other members of the drug ring. Her job at the FBI allowed her unfettered access to the same information available to agents, authorities said.
The investigation revealed that one of the drug traffickers was also involved in a Waialua cockfighting operation and that he was being tipped off to law enforcement raids by police officers, according to authorities.
Charmaine Moniz is believed to be the first FBI employee in Hawai'i accused of leaking information to aid a criminal activity.
"I want to apologize to the people of Hawai'i and the City and County of Honolulu for the breach of trust occasioned by the illegal activities of our now former employee," said Charles Goodwin, special agent in charge of the FBI's Honolulu division.
Honolulu Police Chief Boisse Correa said the department is obligated to "weed out" law violators who wear the HPD uniform.
"This is a dark day for the Honolulu Police Department obviously," Correa said.
"The indictment of five HPD officers is extremely disheartening. If the allegations are true, these officers consciously broke the very laws they took an oath to uphold."
He said other police officers may be investigated administratively once the pending criminal cases are completed, but said it's too early to say how many.
Goodwin said the investigation included about 80 search warrants and 10 wiretaps.
He said authorities obtained information from wiretaps to develop evidence not only against Charmaine Moniz but also against drug traffickers.
Moniz and her husband were among eight charged in one of the unsealed indictments. The other indictment names five individuals.
Agents began looking into allegations that an FBI employee was divulging law enforcement secrets in March 2004, Goodwin said. Moniz's home was searched in December of that year.
Moniz obtained the law enforcement information about one or more of her co-defendants from an FBI computer five times from June 2003 to November 2004, according to the indictment.
One of the eight defendants is John Saguibo, who also obtained "sensitive law enforcement information" from Honolulu police and told co-defendant Damien Kalei Hina that he was a target of law enforcement and should stop using his telephone, the indictment said.
The conspiracy involved distribution of about 2 pounds of methamphetamine in 2004, according to the indictment.
If convicted, the defendants face a sentence of 10 years to life in prison.
Saguibo is also among nine defendants named in an indictment alleging that a cockfight and gambling operation near Waialua Elementary School received protection from police. Officers Kevin Brunn and Glenn Miram and former officer Bryson Apo are charged in that indictment.
The investigation also led to separate indictments against officer Barry Tong, who is charged with illegal possession of a machine gun, and officer John Edwin Cambra IV, who is charged with trying to hide cockfight gaffs from the FBI.
If convicted, Brunn faces up to 20 years in prison; Miram, Apo and Cambra, up to five years; and Tong, up to 10 years.
The four officers are currently on paid administrative leave, but Correa said he will start proceedings to put them on unpaid leave. Apo has resigned from the force.
Another man charged in the cockfight indictment is Charles Gilman, who was also charged in the second drug indictment unsealed yesterday. That indictment alleges that Gilman received about 4 pounds of methamphetamine in 2004.
Charmaine Moniz was arrested yesterday.
She and others charged in the cases could not be reached for comment.
U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo, whose office will be prosecuting the cases, said the public should not lose confidence in the 1,800-member Honolulu Police Department or the FBI because of the actions of a few.
"Our focus should be on the many good men and women of these law enforcement organizations who are conscientious, hardworking and trustworthy police officers," he said.
"These police officers are dedicated public servants whose mission is to ensure our citizens are safe from harm and they have always performed their jobs admirably."