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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Jewelry-theft suspect charged with ice sales

By Peter Boylan
Advertiser Staff Writer

A 25-year-old 'Ewa Beach man who was arrested Thursday on suspicion of robbing a jeweler in a Waipahu parking lot was charged in federal court yesterday for an alleged role in a methamphetamine smuggling ring, according to law enforcement officials and documents filed in U.S. District Court.

Bryan T. Higa was charged in a criminal complaint with conspiring to distribute 50 or more grams of methamphetamine. He is accused of working as a middleman for a narcotics distributor previously arrested by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, records show. Police described Higa as a career criminal who has been arrested more than 40 times.

"We've been looking at him for some time," said Anthony D. Williams, assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Honolulu district office.

Williams said the investigation is continuing and that he expects more arrests.

Higa, under arrest since Thursday, was turned over to federal agents yesterday and made his initial appearance in federal court.

Higa allegedly set up the sale of 87.4 grams of methamphetamine by acting as a point of contact for a man identified in the criminal complaint as Higa's supplier.

An informant told DEA agents that he had bought methamphetamine from the supplier "two to three times" at Higa's house, according to the complaint.

The DEA was working with Honolulu police to establish the state's case against Higa, who has not been charged in connection with Thursday's midday robbery and car chase.

Honolulu police spokeswoman Michelle Yu confirmed that robbery detectives are still investigating the jewelry heist. The jeweler told police he estimates the value of the jewelry at $2 million.

Police yesterday searched for the robber's accomplice, who allegedly has the jewels, which were stolen from a wholesale jeweler in the parking lot of the Golden Coin restaurant in Waipahu on Thursday, police said.

At 12:35 p.m. Thursday, a man wearing a mask robbed a jeweler at gunpoint in the parking lot of the restaurant on Puko Street, police said. The robber fired at the jeweler but missed.

Two men sped off in a stolen car. They split up while still in Waipahu and fled in separate vehicles, police said.

Police have the car Higa allegedly used to leave the scene of the robbery but have not found all of the jewels and the gun used in the robbery, police said.

Reach Peter Boylan at pboylan@honoluluadvertiser.com.