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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 5, 2010

Judge OKs Palea's release before trial

By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Norbert K. Palea

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Kalaupapa Hansen's disease patient Norbert K. Palea can be released on $25,000 bond while awaiting trial on charges of shipping crystal methamphetamine from O'ahu to Moloka'i, U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie Kobayashi ruled yesterday.

Palea, 68, is the youngest resident of the Kalaupapa Hansen's disease settlement.

According to a criminal complaint filed against him this week, Palea allegedly shipped illicit drugs to Moloka'i last year and again this year.

Federal drug agents followed Palea during a state-sponsored trip to O'ahu Feb. 25 and 26 and allegedly discovered some 18 grams of crystal meth in a box he tried to send to Moloka'i.

Kobayashi ordered Palea to surrender his passport, undergo periodic drug tests and complete a drug-assessment program. The $25,000 bond will be signature-only, meaning Palea does not have to post cash with the court but must pay the sum if he fails to abide by the terms of his release.

"I don't want to see you again," Kobayashi told Palea.