U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Hawaii
(808) 541-2850
December 18, 2014

Maui Man Convicted of Methamphetamine Distribution

HONOLULU—After a four-day trial in United States District Court in Honolulu, a federal jury today found James K. Tagupa, 33, of Wailuku, Maui, guilty of conspiring to distribute and possess, with intent to distribute, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine in August, 2012 as well as possessing 444 grams of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.

Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said the evidence presented at trial showed that Tagupa agreed with other individuals to distribute methamphetamine sent from Maui to Molokai on private vessels. The evidence established that Tagupa delivered 444 grams of pure methamphetamine which was intercepted during a traffic stop conducted by the Maui Police Department. Tagupa was also intercepted over a court authorized wiretap conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) discussing how to conceal the methamphetamine for transport by boat to Molokai.

Tagupa was taken into custody immediately after the verdicts and faces up to life in prison with a mandatory minimum ten year term of imprisonment and will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright on April 6, 2015.

The investigation which resulted in the charges in the case was conducted by the FBI and Maui Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark A. Inciong handled the prosecution.

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