Drug suspect linked to fatal wreck
By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer
Federal authorities have charged a California man whom they alleged was involved in a drug trafficking ring with another man who died in a high-speed crash Friday on H-3 Freeway.
Johnny Resendez Jr. was charged in a criminal complaint yesterday with knowingly and intentionally conspiring to distribute and possess about 32 pounds of methamphetamine. He remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing.
Resendez was linked in a federal court document with a man who died Friday after his speeding red Ford Mustang crashed in the Kāne'ohe-bound tunnel of the H-3 Freeway. The city medical examiner's office yesterday had not positively identified the victim, but he was identified in the court document as Marvin E. Burrow Jr. of California.
Burrow, 39, was killed when he lost control of his car as he attempted to flee federal agents, the court document said. The 2004 Mustang was registered to Resendez, who shipped the vehicle to Hawai'i from Oakland on March 1, the court document said.
Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement obtained a search warrant on March 9 and found 32 packages of methamphetamine, or "ice," stashed in the car's door frames and under the rear seat, the affidavit said. The document did not say how the agents determined that the car may have contained illegal drugs.
Agents removed the drugs and replaced them with packages of pseudo-methamphetamine, which were coated with a substance to identify anyone who had handled them. Agents also wired the car compartments with beepers and placed a tracking device on the vehicle, the affidavit said.
On March 10, Resendez arrived in Honolulu and was picked up by a man in a Honda, which Resendez had shipped to Hawai'i from Oakland in July 2009, the affidavit said. The two then drove to a home on Kailoa Street in 'Ewa Beach.
On March 12, Resendez picked up the Mustang and drove to a fast-food restaurant, where he met another man, the affidavit said. The two then drove to the airport, where Resendez was confronted by agents as he prepared to fly back to California.
He consented to be interviewed and admitted that he was paid $1,000 to ship the Honda and Mustang to Honolulu and that he "believed (they) contained something illegal," the affidavit said. Resendez was placed under arrest.
Agents followed the Mustang back to the 'Ewa Beach home, where the devices that were placed on the car began to go off, the affidavit said. As they approached the home, the Mustang drove by the agents and the driver, identified in the affidavit as Burrow, sped off.
Burrow drove through a red light, cut in and out of traffic and crossed double-solid lines to pass vehicles, the affidavit said. As it drove on H-3, the Mustang used the shoulder lane to overtake cars, the document said.
As the car approached the Harano Tunnel, police said the Mustang veered left, crossed two lanes and hit a jersey barrier. The car then struck the tunnel wall and came to a rest inside the tunnel.
Burrow was taken to Castle Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The affidavit said a test confirmed that the fluorescent powder placed on the bogus packages of drugs was present on Burrow's hands, arms and elbows.