REPORT FROM THE US ATTORNEY’S OFFICE – HONOLULU – James “Kimo” Sanders III, age 31, of Kailua (Oahu), Hawaii, an Adult Corrections Officer at the Halawa Correctional Facility, was arraigned in United States District Court today after a federal grand jury indicted him for two counts of distributing methamphetamine, conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and bribery. Sanders pled not guilty to the four charges. The indictment was returned on January 8 but had been sealed until Sanders’ arrest yesterday. United States Magistrate Judge Barry M. Kurren set a trial date of March 18, 2014, before Senior United States District Judge Helen Gillmor.
Florence T. Nakakuni, Untied States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said that according to the indictment, Sanders is charged with distributing five grams or more of methamphetamine on November 15, 2013; distributing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine on November 22, 2013; and, as an employee of the Department of Public Safety (an entity receiving more than $10,000 under a federal program), soliciting, accepting, and agreeing to accept something of value with the intent of being influenced and rewarded.
If convicted of either the conspiracy or the distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, Sanders faces up to life in prison, with a mandatory minimum term of ten years in prison, and a fine of up to $10 million. The maximum penalty for the smaller distribution charge is 40 years in prison, a mandatory minimum term of five years, and a fine of $5 million. The maximum penalty for the bribery charge is ten years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The charges in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The prosecution resulted from an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of the State of Hawaii Department of Public Safety, the Honolulu Police Department, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Nammar.