Trial set in missing police evidence case

  • IVAR KALUHIKAUA
  • DAVID COLON
  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Brian Miller appears Wednesday in Hilo Circuit Court.

A retired Hawaii Police Department officer accused of illegally taking drug evidence from a police locker and notifying Hilo arcade owners of a gambling raid pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 10 criminal charges.

Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura ordered Brian Miller to appear for trial at 9 a.m. Oct. 14.

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Miller, who is free on $10,000 bail, is charged with first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, second- and fourth-degree theft, obstructing government operations, two counts of second-degree hindering prosecution, and four counts of tampering with physical evidence.

The most severe charge, first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, is a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment upon conviction.

Miller, a 55-year-old retired Hilo Vice Section detective, is accused of stealing cocaine from a police evidence locker in May 2016.

In an apparently unrelated incident, he’s also accused of tipping off Triple 7 arcade owners Lance and Stacey Yamada about an Aug. 10, 2017, gambling raid on the downtown Hilo establishment and engaging in a conspiracy to hide or destroy gambling devices.

Miller was indicted May 13 by a Kona grand jury and appeared in court May 16 without legal representation. Nakamura ordered him to return Wednesday with an attorney. He’s since retained the services of Jeffrey Hawk.

Lance Yamada, 56, and brother Stacey Yamada, 52, pleaded not guilty on May 17 to criminal conspiracy to hinder prosecution and two counts of tampering with physical evidence, all misdemeanors.

They are free on $2,000 bail each and are scheduled for trial at 9 a.m. Oct. 7.

Two co-defendants in the Yamada case also pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning.

Ivar Kaluhikaua and David Colon are both charged with two counts each of second-degree hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence, all misdemeanors.

They, like Miller, appeared in court on May 16 without legal counsel and were granted postponement of their arraignment and pleas and ordered to return to court with lawyers.

Nakamura ordered the 43-year-old Kaluhikaua, who’s represented by Francis Alcain, and Colon, 62, who’s represented by Don Wilkerson, to appear for trial at 9 a.m. Oct. 7, the same date and time as the Yamadas.

Both are free on $2,000 bail.

Also facing the same charges as Colon and Kaluhikaua is 67-year-old Chadwick Fukui, a retired police captain who once commanded the Hilo Criminal Investigations Division and worked as an investigator for the county prosecutor after his 2006 retirement.

On May 16, Fukui was granted a postponement in entering a plea so he and his wife can travel in June and so Fukui’s lawyer, Douglas Halsted, can examine what he described as “voluminous discovery and a large grand jury record in the case.”

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Fukui, who also is free on $2,000 bail, was ordered to appear for arraignment and plea at 8 a.m. July 10.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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