State briefs for June 11

Guard charged with smuggling meth into jail to be released

HONOLULU — A prison guard charged with smuggling meth and other contraband into Oahu Community Correctional Center will be released on bond, a federal judge said Wednesday.

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Prosecutors wanted Jon Estabilio Jr. detained without bail. Estabilio, 45, participated in a hearing Wednesday via telephone from the Honolulu Federal Detention Center. U.S. Magistrate Judge Wes Reber Porter ordered he be released on $50,000 bond.

Officials at Oahu Community Correctional Center searched Estabilio after monitoring prison calls between an inmate and someone else suggesting he was smuggling contraband, prosecutors said. Several packs of cigarettes, lighters, tattoo kits and 16 small plastic bags containing methamphetamine were found on Estabilio, prosecutors said.

As an adult corrections officer for five years, Estabilio abused his position of authority to smuggle drugs, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Van Demark. Estabilio was working with at least one other person outside the jail, Van Demark said.

The allegations carry a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison if he’s convicted.

Attorney Catherine Gutierrez argued for Estabilio’s release. He is a lifelong Hawaii resident and doesn’t have a passport, she said.

DOD lifts travel restrictions to Hawaii for military

HONOLULU — The U.S. Department of Defense approved travel to Hawaii by military personnel who were previously restricted by health regulations established after the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The department released a list Monday of “green locations” for travel that includes Hawaii.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a May 22 memo allowing personnel movement on a large scale if conditions are met.

The “green” designation follows Hawaii’s easing of 14-day quarantine conditions for military personnel and family members traveling to the state under orders.

Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine for arriving residents and tourists remains in place.

Hawaii, 37 other states and the District of Columbia “meet the conditions to lift travel restrictions, subject to the assessment of conditions at individual military installations within these areas,” the Defense Department said.

Hawaii has already experienced an increase in arriving military personnel who were classified as exceptions to a previous “stop movement” order by the Pentagon.

There were 1,125 military personnel arrivals in Hawaii during the first week of June. Another 1,191 traveled to the state in the last two weeks of May. The transition of service members to Hawaii is normally much greater during spring and summer, officials said.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, which oversees operations in Hawaii, said last week that its own “restriction of movement” guidelines prohibit service members from going out for 14 days after arrival except for travel to places considered essential such as grocery stores, doctors or pharmacies.

Virus reduces Oahu home, condo sales; raises Maui prices

HONOLULU — The coronavirus significantly affected property purchases on two of Hawaii’s major islands, with Oahu experiencing a drop in house and condominium sales while a similar decrease in supply pushed up prices on Maui.

The Honolulu Board of Realtors reported single-family home sales in May fell to 248, a 22.5% decrease from the same time last year. Condominium sales in Honolulu declined to 254, a 51.2% decrease compared with May 2019.

The Realtors Association of Maui said a decline in sales and new listings in May pushed single-family home and condo prices to their highest levels in 12 months.

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The median price for a single-family home on Maui rose to $800,000, a 13.5% percent increase from the median price tag of $705,000 at the same time last year.

Maui condominium prices increased 33.3%, from $510,000 in May 2019 to $680,000 this year.

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