Officer honored for taking down million-dollar drug ring

  • Hawaii Police Department photo Officer Justin Gaspar holds his Kona Officer of the Month award.

Officer Justin Gaspar was named Officer of the Month for March 2022 by the Kona Crime Prevention Committee, and was recognized during an awards ceremony at Huggo’s on the Rocks in Kona on May 4.

According to police, Gaspar, from the Kona Vice Section, Gaspar was honored for his work in taking down a major drug trafficking operation that was importing more than $1 million worth of narcotics to Hawaii Island.

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On Nov. 1, Gaspar initiated a narcotic investigation starting with a vehicle interdiction. Early on, he cultivated an informant that developed into a cooperating defendant. During the course of investigation, it was determined the narcotic source of supply was connected to a Mexican source that was involved with the Mexican Cartel, which was confirmed through an outside agency.

Upon identifying the Hawaii Island drug trafficking organization, Gaspar was able to connect distributors involved. This, in turn, developed into a criminal conspiracy investigation resulting in the dismantling of the local organization when two people — the main supplier from the mainland and a local conspirator —w ere arrested. The main supplier from the mainland, a 49-year-old man from Tacoma, Wash., was arrested for seven counts of promotion of a dangerous drug in the first degree and two counts of criminal conspiracy. A local conspirator, a 63-year-old man from Kailua-Kona, was arrested for one count of criminal conspiracy.

Both were later transferred to the custody of Homeland Security Investigations on federal charges and the investigation into the extensive drug network is ongoing.

Additionally, through the course of his investigation Gaspar was able to provide the Juvenile Aid Section with information regarding the identity of suspects in a juvenile death investigation.

From this investigation alone, Gaspar drafted over nine search warrants that resulted in the recovery of five pounds of methamphetamine, more than 7,000 fentanyl pills, and two pounds of pure powdered fentanyl with a combined approximate street value of more than $1 million. All the aforementioned drugs were recovered in West Hawaii.

Gaspar’s investigation stopped a large amount of narcotics from entering our island communities. The investigation stopped one of the main suppliers of narcotics to our island and cut off multiple other narcotic distributors that would have then distributed drugs within our community.

A 12-year veteran of the department, Gaspar is also a K9 handler, and works with narcotics canine Boyke. Dedicated to the recovery of narcotics and the betterment of the Big Island community, Gaspar strives to ensure the Big Island is a safe place to live, visit, and conduct business.

Every month the Kona Crime Prevention Committee honors a police officer in West Hawaii as their Officer of the Month. Officers are nominated by their supervisors from the various police districts and a winner is selected by the KCPC board of directors.

All officers selected for Officer of the Month are eligible to be selected as the Kona Crime Prevention Committee’s Officer of the Year.

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