Trial set for ex-cop accused of stealing cocaine from evidence locker

  • MILLER

A retired police officer is scheduled to face trial for allegedly stealing cocaine from an evidence locker in the Hilo Police Station and intimidating a witness.

Jury selection in the case of 57-year-old Brian Miller, a retired Hilo vice detective, is scheduled to start Oct. 12 in the Kailua-Kona courtroom of Third Circuit Chief Judge Robert Kim.

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Miller was indicted on May 13, 2019, on charges of first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, second- and fourth-degree theft, conspiracy to tamper with physical evidence, three counts of tampering with physical evidence, obstructing government operations, criminal conspiracy to hinder prosecution, and hindering prosecution.

Some of the charges were for allegedly pilfering more than an ounce of cocaine from the police station on May 3, 2016, and taking FedEx parcels between June 13, 2014, and July 30, 2015. Other charges stemmed from an Aug. 10, 2017, gambling raid by police at Triple 7 arcade in downtown Hilo.

Miller and a retired police captain, Chadwick Fukui, were accused of tipping off arcade owner Lance Yamada and his brother, Stacy Yamada, prior to the raid.

Miller also was indicted on July 13, 2020, on charges of intimidating a witness, retaliating against a witness, witness tampering, second-degree terroristic threatening and harassment.

The victim in the case was a woman listed as a potential witness in the drug and conspiracy case against Miller and a separate gambling and conspiracy case against Fukui, the Yamadas and two other civilians. A man also was listed as the victim on the harassment charge. The offenses allegedly occurred on May 14, 2020.

Miller has pleaded not guilty to all charges in both cases, which are scheduled to be heard together.

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

Miller remains free on $60,000 bail.

Five misdemeanor charges Fukui faced in connection with the Triple 7 raid — second-degree hindering prosecution, criminal conspiracy to hinder prosecution, tampering with physical evidence, criminal conspiracy to tamper with physical evidence, and obstructing government operations — were dismissed by Kim Feb. 19 without prejudice, which means they can be refiled.

Identical charges against Ivar Kaluhikaua — with the exception of obstructing government operations — were dismissed Feb. 16 with prejudice. Those charges can’t be refiled.

Charges against the Yamadas stemming from the 2017 raid — second-degree criminal conspiracy to hinder prosecution, tampering with physical evidence, and conspiracy to tamper with physical evidence — were dismissed without prejudice on Dec. 2, 2020.

David Colon pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy to hinder prosecution, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to a year probation in the Triple 7 case.

In another alleged gambling case, charges against the Yamadas of first-degree promotion of gambling, conspiracy to promote gambling, possession of gambling records, and possession of a gambling device were dismissed with prejudice by Kim on May 17.

Three of the four offenses, which were alleged to have occurred between March 1, 2016, and Dec. 31, 2017, are Class C felonies punishable by up to five years imprisonment. Possession of a gambling device is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.

In the second alleged gambling case, similar charges against Glen S. Haraguchi, April Whiting-Haraguchi and Justin D. Alpert were dismissed without prejudice on Feb. 4, 2020.

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In addition, Rodney K. Worley Jr. pleaded no contest on July 1, 2019, to second-degree promotion of gambling, a misdemeanor, and was allowed a deferred acceptance of his plea, which means his conviction was erased from the record a year later.

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

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