Hawai‘i Island Man Arrested on Meth and Firearm Charges
A Hawaiʻi Island man was arrested and charged with alleged meth and firearms offenses following a search of his Kurtistown home last week.
Jonathan Tai, 36, of Kurtistown, made his initial appearance yesterday in Honolulu on the criminal complaint, according to the United States Attorney’s Office District of Hawaiʻi. US Magistrate Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield ordered him detained pending a detention hearing on Thursday, May 20.
Judith A. Philips, Acting United States Attorney, said the appearance followed Tai’s arrest on May 14, 2021, at his residence after execution of a search warrant for the location.
According to court documents, law enforcement authorities recovered approximately 4,600 gross grams of a substance testing positive for methamphetamine from two mail parcels addressed to a post office box in Mountain View, pursuant to a search warrant issued on May 4.
The US Attorney’s Office reports: “No one picked up those parcels, but a review of video surveillance of the same post office showed an individual strongly resembling Tai previously picking up two other mail parcels, and Tai was also previously identified as an individual who received mail at the same post office box to which the searched mail parcels were addressed.”
Law enforcement authorities obtained a search warrant for Tai’s Kurtistown residence and, on May 13, pursuant to that warrant, recovered 240 gross grams of a substance testing positive for methamphetamine, more than 2,600 rounds of ammunition, more than $100,000 in US currency, and a bump-stock device allowing a shooter of a semi-automatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger. Also recovered at the time of the search and Tai’s arrest were a semi-automatic handgun and five “ghost guns,” generally defined as unserialized firearms that are often sold through kits and assembled at home.
Tai is charged in the criminal complaint with one count of methamphetamine trafficking and one count of possessing the semi-automatic handgun during and in relation to the methamphetamine trafficking. If indicted and convicted on those charges, Tai faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum penalty up to life imprisonment on the methamphetamine charge and, on the firearm charge, a mandatory term of five years in prison consecutive to the imprisonment on the drug charge. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The US Attorney’s Office advises that a criminal complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The Hawaiʻi County Police Department, Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are investigating the case. Assistant US Attorney Michael Nammar is prosecuting the case.