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Feds file additional charges, forfeiture case against Mountain View man

  • TAI

Additional charges have been filed and a forfeiture case opened against a 35-year-old Mountain View man accused of using the U.S. Postal Service for methamphetamine trafficking.

A four-count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury and filed May 27 in U.S. District Court in Honolulu.

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The indictment charges Johnathan Samuel Tai with possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, conspiracy with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, carrying a firearm in the commission of a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

The conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and being a felon in possession of a firearm charges were added to the original pair of charges facing Tai, who is being held without bail in the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu.

The indictment also opens a property forfeiture case against Tai.

The document states the government, upon conviction of the possession with intent to distribute and the conspiracy with intent to distribute charges, will seek forfeiture of $114,644 seized from Tai’s Ala Loop residence, his 2016 Toyota 4Runner and on his person.

Also up for forfeiture to the feds are a Springfield Armory 9mm semiautomatic pistol plus multiple rounds of ammunition found in Tai’s SUV, plus five ghost guns — homemade guns without serial numbers, often made from kits — and a bump stock, which allows a shooter of a semi-automatic firearm to shoot continuously with a single pull of a trigger.

The ghost guns and bump stock were found at the Ala Loop home, which was searched by federal and local authorities on May 13 after a Hilo District Judge Kanani Laubach signed a warrant.

The search also turned up more than a half-pound of meth, according to court documents.

The forfeiture notice didn’t include Tai’s SUV or the Ala Loop property where Tai lived — which, according to county tax records, is owned by Chris J. Graef and Rhonda S. Graef of Santa Ynez, Calif. The notice does say, however, the government’s right to seize property used to facilitate the trafficking of drugs or obtained by the proceeds of drug trafficking is not limited to the items contained on the list.

Tai pleaded not guilty to all charges Tuesday morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Rom Trader in Honolulu.

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Trader ordered Tai to appear for a jury trial before U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway at 8:30 a.m. July 27.

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

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