State briefs for April 1

Husband pleads not guilty in trafficking case

HONOLULU (AP) — A man accused with his wife of trafficking a mother and teenaged girl to Hawaii from Guam pleaded not guilty Thursday.


Kevin Robert pleaded not guilty to labor trafficking charges, according to his attorney, Tim Rakieten. His wife, Pomerrine Robert, pleaded not guilty last week. Kevin Robert’s arraignment was postponed then because he requested a Chuukese interpreter.

“I need sufficient time to review the case, and review with him, before I can comment any further,” Rakieten said.

State Public Defender James Tabe, whose office represents Pomerrine Robert, has previously declined to comment.

Police alleged in court documents that when the 15-year-old girl and her mother arrived in Honolulu, the Roberts took away their passports, forced them to work and beat them.

Court documents don’t specify the country of the passports.

The girl and her mother lived in the couple’s apartment, while the teen enrolled at a high school and the woman got a job at a deli where Pomerrine Robert also worked, the documents said.

The documents said Robert took away the mother’s money, the girl was expected to clean the apartment and Robert beat the girl and mother.

Cocaine, pot seized in Pacific brought to San Diego

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A big haul of cocaine and marijuana seized from vessels in the Eastern Pacific was offloaded from a U.S. Coast Guard cutter in San Diego Bay on Thursday.

The 11,300 pounds of cocaine and more than 4,000 pounds of marijuana valued at about $223 million were seized in eight interdictions on the high seas, the Coast Guard said.

The interdictions were conducted by the U.S. cutters Kimball, Legare and Spencer, and the Canadian vessel HMCS Yellowknife. The Honolulu-based Kimball brought the contraband to San Diego.

“Illicit drugs cost our country nearly $200 billion every year in crime, health, safety and lost productivity,” Vice Adm. Michael McAllister commander told a dockside press conference.

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