LIHU‘E — With the recent sentencing of two players in former County Council Member Arthur Brun’s illegal drug trafficking operation, the case against the Kaua‘i drug ring is nearly closed.
Kelvin Kai, 41, was sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday for his role as a drug runner. Kaniu Huihui, 41, was sentenced to nearly five years in late October for her role as a supplier.
Kai, who pleaded guilty in May 2021 to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, would run drugs for Brun in exchange for what court documents describe as “as much methamphetamine as he wanted to smoke.”
He would assist Brun in other ways as well. His home was also used as a stash house for storing and preparing meth, while his truck was used for trafficking.
In October 2019, as investigators closed in on his operation, Brun was involved in a high-speed chase with police, during which he threw a bag of meth out the window of his vehicle. Afterward, Brun called Kai and asked him to look for the bag.
Huihui’s six-year sentence is one of the most substantial sentences of any of Brun’s co-conspirators. She was an important player in the operation, helping Brun ship meth from the mainland through the mail.
Between August and October 2019, Huihui received at least four parcels of meth from a contact on the mainland, which she would sell to Brun to further distribute.
Huihui would sometimes upcharge the former County Council member. At one point, investigators’ wiretap picked her up misrepresenting the price she had to pay for a pound of meth ($9,000 instead of $7,000) to Brun to make extra profit on the deal.
In December 2021, she pleaded guilty to one count of attempted possession of 50 or more grams of meth.
All but one individual named in the indictment, Phrsytal Bacio, have now been sentenced.
From addicts to dealers
Like Brun himself, Kai and Huihui were both addicted to the products they sold.
In a letter to Judge Derrick K. Watson, Huihui describes growing up in a culture of drug use and abuse, which led her to using and eventually selling meth.
“To the island of Kaua‘i, my extended ‘ohana, I am so sorry for spreading the plague of addiction in our community,” wrote Huihui. “I was just caught up in an addiction that was stronger than me.”
“I take full responsibility for my actions and my behavior and I am learning to deal with my disease in order to prevent future relapses.”
Huihui, who said she has been an addict for “most of her adult life,” reported that the drug treatment program she successfully completed in prison was the first experience she had trying to deal with her addiction.
Kai places the blame for his own relapse into drug use squarely at the feet of the former council member.
While the pair were hanging out at a junior dragster event in 2018, Brun encouraged Kai — then a recovering addict — to take a hit from his meth pipe, according to a memo from Kai’s attorney Richard Gronna.
“I went from being a husband, father and foreman one day to being hooked on ice the next day,” wrote Kai in a letter to the court. “I lost my job and was on the verge of losing my family, which means the world to me.”
Kai also completed a drug treatment program in prison and has been gainfully employed as a truck driver through a prison work program since then.
“Today, I’m picking up the pieces that I destroyed during my addiction and now I’m able to be a father and husband again,” he wrote.
Brun has been described as a careless and reckless trafficker due to his own addiction. Court documents state that he would often spend days at a time not participating in dealing because of heavy drug use.
In May, he was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for nine charges related to the conspiracy.
Source: The Garden Island