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Hilo, Hawaii News, Sports, & Information Monday, November 24, 2014



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Posted: Monday, March 10th, 2014 11:24 AM HST

Jurors return partial verdict in Hawaii meth ring

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) Jurors convicted a California man of a conspiracy to distribute 400 pounds of the drug to the islands in what's been described as Hawaii's biggest crystal meth case.

The jury on Friday acquitted two of his co-defendants, including Kaisa Tai, who walked out of the Honolulu federal courthouse a free man after three years in custody.

The second defendant acquitted, Aloalii Tootoo, was already free on bond.

Jurors weren't able to reach a unanimous verdict on the main conspiracy charge for Fouina Toilolo. But he was found not guilty of a charge involving meth possession with intent to distribute in July 2009. Prosecutors say they intend to re-try Toilolo on the charge the jury couldn't decide on.

Six men originally went on trial, but two of them were later acquitted because the judge ruled there was a lack of evidence. The case ran into other significant prosecutorial setbacks, including the judge ruling that prosecutors were "sloppy" and tardy" in providing discovery materials to the defense. U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi also referred Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Loo to the federal Department of Justice's office of professional responsibility.

Prosecutors say the men received meth from Walter Dominguez, of Carson, Calif., who was found guilty of five counts, including the conspiracy charge. He was found not guilty of various other charges but jurors couldn't agree on one count involving meth possession with intent to distribute in March 2012.

Dominguez is scheduled to be sentenced in September. Defense attorney Richard Hamar says he expects he'll get a life sentence.



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