Former Hokule'a sailor gets 18 years in meth case

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Oct. 6—A member of the who sailed with the Hokule 'a and Hikianalia while advocating for Native Hawaiian advancement was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison today for leading a methamphetamine trafficking ring that moved pounds of product on Oahu and Hawaii island.

Samuel K. Kapoi, 35, of Puea, Waianae Valley, also will serve five years of supervised release for conspiring to sell pounds of meth between the two islands, U.S. District Court Judge Jill Otake ordered.

Kapoi pleaded guilty on May 25 to conspiring to distribute and possess 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Otake ordered Kapoi, who remains free on a $50, 000 unsecured bond, to turn himself in to the Bureau of Prisons on Jan 4, 2022, to start his sentence.

Kapoi was responsible for moving more than 26 pounds of methamphetamine over about nine months and used an unregistered AR-15 rifle, with no serial number, to protect his operation, according to court documents.

Otake described Kapoi's conduct as "injecting poison " into communities that lack the resources to deal with methamphetamine addictions, and emphasized his conduct was "not a victimless crime, " according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

"Methamphetamine remains the dominant drug of abuse in Hawaii, and this conviction and sentence demonstrate the price methamphetamine traffickers can pay for continuing to pursue this path to profit, " said acting U.S. Attorney Judith Philips, in a statement.

"This significant sentence is the result of many hours of difficult and dangerous work carried out by brave law enforcement officers for the benefit of our society, " said John Tobon, special agent in charge for Homeland Security Investigations Honolulu, in a news release.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Hawaii County Police Department. It was prosecuted by assistant U.S. attorneys Margaret Nammar and Wayne Myers.

Kapoi dedicated much of his life to his family, and promoting and supporting cultural activities and polices that benefit the community. More than 17 pages of letters lauding his work and endorsing his rehabilitation were received by Otake, describing the positive activities and potential of a man determined to maintain traditions, teach and share his culture.

"Sam's leadership among his peers and his commitment to this media work were the key factors that convinced me that this was the type of program that the W.K. Kellogg Foundation needed to support which they subsequently did for $5 million to advance the program aimed at drop-out prevention Through the years as other schools in Hawaii replicated this type of program, I often told Sam that he "changed the world " but especially in Waianae, " wrote Dr. Valerie Johnson, the foundation's retired program officer.

"I've written many letters in my 33 years as a Department of Education educator for the state of Hawaii, but none has been more difficult than this ... He's accepted his responsibility and I know he will grow, learn, and become a better person, " wrote Candy Suiso, founder of the Searider Productions department at Waianae High School where Kapoi starred before earning a bachelor's of science degree in digital filmaking from the Art Institute in Santa Monica, Calif.

Kapoi was indicted Oct. 15, 2020, with Tyrell K. Silva ; Benjamin Manuel III, aka "Puna ;" Jamie K. Vincent, aka "Mele " and Troy Anthony Samson Sr. and charged with five counts, including "conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, according to court documents.

In the agreement, Kapoi admits to conspiring with Silva, Manuel III, Philip Acorda, Jaime Veincent "and others to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, " according to court documents.

Kapoi fronted methamphetamine by the pound to his distributors on Hawaii island who would deposit the profit into Kapoi's bank accounts.

On Feb. 10, 2020, Kapoi flew from Oahu to Hawaii island with methamphetamine and was met at the airport by law enforcement who seized 1, 342.4 grams of 99.3 % pure methamphetamine hydro chloride.

He had been free on a $50, 000 unsecured bond.

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