Honolulu Police Department Major Carlton Nishimura, already under indictment on federal extortion charges, now faces drug distribution charges following an FBI raid of his Waianae home last night.
Agents executed a search warrant at Nishimura’s Moelua Street house and seized six plastic baggies containing crystal methamphetamine as well as three digital scales. The seized items “are consistent with the illegal distribution of drugs,” FBI agent Daniel Olson said in a sworn affidavit filed in federal court today.
Nishimura was arrested last night. He briefly appeared in federal court today and was ordered held in custody pending a hearing tomorrow on a government motion to hold him without bail.
Five of the baggies contained “distribution quantities” of crystal meth – the commonly abused illegal stimulant known in Hawaii as “ice.” The sixth baggie contained residue of the drug, according the affidavit.
The amount of the drug contained in the five baggies was “inconsistent with quantities possessed for mere personal consumption by a drug user,” Olson said in his affidavit. Agents seized a total of 231.5 grams of the drug during the raid, according to court paperts.
Olson said he has “personally participated” in an FBI investigation of Nishimura since 2008. Nishimura, 55, had been free pending trial since his indictment in February on a series of charges related to illegal game room operators.
In the motion filed today to hold Nishimura without bail, the government said he has violated the terms of his pre-trial release by "possessing ammunition, brass knuckles, controlled substances and repeatedly contacting a witness in his pending case."
His defense lawyers have filed court papers in recent weeks attacking the credibility of the principal prosecution witness in the extortion case, alleging that the witness, a woman, admitted giving false grand jury testimony about Nishimura.
A hearing on that matter is scheduled Friday in federal court.
The charges filed against Nishimura in February include extortion, attempted witness tampering and making false statements.
He is the highest-ranking HPD official to be charged with a federal felony offense in recent memory.
A 30-year HPD veteran, Nishimura was working as an HPD “legislative liaison” when he was indicted.
According to the indictment, Nishimura conspired with his unnamed female friend to extort money from an individual “engaged in the operation of an illegal game room” in Honolulu.
The alleged extortion included use of Nishimura’s position as a police officer, the government alleged.
In 2009, Nishimura “attempted to corruptly persuade” the woman to lie to FBI agents, the indictment charged.
Nishimura told her to say her relationship with him “was limited to assisting (him) in introducing an undercover police officer into illegal game rooms,” the government charged.
She was also told to say “there was no exchange of moneys” although she had delivered cash to Nishimura “on a regular basis in 2004, 2005, and 2006,” the indictment said.
Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
Posted by Jim Dooley