BY JIM DOOLEY – The February death of “Hawaii Five-0” driver Aaron Torres (see related story) is the latest link in a decades-long chain of incidents connecting Teamsters movie and television drivers here to drugs and violence.

The Hawaii Five-0 show is no exception:

  • Two Five-0 drivers are on federal parole after serving five-year prison terms in separate methamphetamine distribution cases.
  • The man hired to replace Torres as a transportation captain has been convicted of drug dealing and assault.
  • A past business associate of Torres, George Cambra Jr., worked as a Five-0 driver last year while awaiting trial on drug-related forgery and theft charges.

The CBS network, which produces Hawaii Five-0 through a subsidiary called Eye Productions, Inc., declined to comment when asked if it checks the criminal histories or conducts drug tests of crew and cast members.

Hawaii Five-0 star Alex O’Laughlin left the show for three weeks while it was in production here this season, reportedly for treatment of pain medication dependence.

The production was shut down for two weeks and O’Laughlin was absent from one episode.

George Cambra Jr. was sentenced in June 2011 to a five-year state probation term after entering a deferred guilty plea in his criminal case in January 2011.

He has been jailed twice for refusing a urinalysis test and missing meetings with his probation officer.

George Cambra Jr.

Cambra is in jail now awaiting a court hearing on a motion to modify or revoke the terms of his probation.

Cambra forged checks and stole cash from his family’s company, George Cambra Movie Production Trucks, Inc., admitting to police that he used the money to finance a drug habit.

Waianae farm land owned by Aaron Torres’ family was used as a storage yard for vehicles and equipment owned by the Cambra company until city inspectors cited the family in 2005 for violating agricultural zoning restrictions on the property, according to public records.

Cambra and his father have been directly or indirectly linked to three of the most notorious criminal cases in recent Hawaii history.

  • George Cambra Sr., served a federal prison sentence for conspiring with fellow Teamster movie driver Joseph “Joe Boy” Tavares in 1997 to set fire to film and television production vehicles owned by competitors of the Cambra company.
  • The elder Cambra and Tavares accused each other of involvement in the 1994 waterfront murder of movie vehicle owner David Walden, although each denied the allegations. No one was ever charged in the murder and the case is unsolved.

Walden was shot to death by two men on a motorcycle while he waited for a business appointment with three Teamster movie drivers.

  • George Cambra Jr. admitted in federal court testimony in 2009 that he helped to destroy firearms used in the 2004 organized crime murders of two men at the City’s Pali municipal golf course.

Nationally, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters has been under a federal court order for 21 years requiring the union to cooperate with and pay for investigations of any ties to organized crime or labor racketeering.

The probes are conducted by what is called the Internal Review Board, based in New York City, that has previously brought charges against Teamsters members for illegal activities connected to film and television productions in several locations around the country.

The IRB has never brought charges against Teamsters in Hawaii.

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Jim Dooley joined the Hawaii Reporter staff as an investigative reporter in October 2010. Before that, he has worked as a print and television reporter in Hawaii since 1973, beginning as a wire service reporter with United Press International. He joined Honolulu Advertiser in 1974, working as general assignment and City Hall reporter until 1978. In 1978, he moved to full-time investigative reporting in for The Advertiser; he joined KITV news in 1996 as investigative reporter. Jim returned to Advertiser 2001, working as investigative reporter and court reporter until 2010. Reach him at Jim@hawaiireporter.com