A Hawaii councilman pleaded not guilty Friday to multiple charges accusing him of leading a methamphetamine-trafficking ring, supplying weapons and conspiring with a gang leader while serving as an elected official, investigators said.
Arthur Brun, 48, operated the major drug-trafficking conspiracy involving 11 other defendants since at least June 2019, while serving as an elected member of the Kauai County Council and vice chairman of its Public Safety and Human Services Committee, the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleged in a news release.
Crystal meth, known locally as “batu” or “ice,” gained a stronghold across the islands long before becoming popular on the U.S. mainland, investigators said, adding that its street value in Hawaii can be more than double its cost in the continental U.S.
Brun obtained meth from a “shot caller,” or leader, of the United Samoan Organization gang and had the drugs mailed to Hawaii from California for $9,000, prosecutors alleged in court documents filed Friday.
He “sometimes requested sexual favors as repayment for drugs he supplied,” prosecutors said. They cited phone wiretaps and testimony by a defendant who signaled he wanted leniency at sentencing in a federal case.
Brun also allegedly assaulted a state law-enforcement officer during a traffic stop in October 2019 in an effort to hide the meth he was transporting, according to investigators.
As the officer’s arm was inside the vehicle trying to take the keys, Brun sped off, injuring the officer’s arm and shoulder, prosecutors said. He then allegedly led police on a high-speed chase, throwing a backpack containing one pound of meth out of the car.
Brun remained in custody and was scheduled to appear at a bail hearing Wednesday.
Meanwhile, local officials and some members of the public have called for Brun to step down from his elected position, KITV reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.