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Press Release

Big Island man arrested on methamphetamine and firearm charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Hawaii

HONOLULU – Jonathan Tai, 36, of Kurtistown, Hawaii, made his initial appearance yesterday in United States District Court in Honolulu on methamphetamine and firearm charges filed in a criminal complaint. United States Magistrate Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield ordered him detained pending a detention hearing on Thursday, May 20.

Judith A. Philips, Acting United States Attorney, said the appearance followed Tai’s arrest on May 14, 2021, at his residence in Kurtistown after execution of a search warrant for that location. According to court documents, law enforcement authorities recovered approximately 4,600 gross grams of a substance testing positive for methamphetamine from two mail parcels addressed to a post office box in Mountain View pursuant to a search warrant issued on May 4, 2021. No one picked up those parcels, but a review of video surveillance of the same post office showed an individual strongly resembling Tai previously picking up two other mail parcels, and Tai was also previously identified as an individual who received mail at the same post office box to which the searched mail parcels were addressed.

Law enforcement authorities obtained a search warrant for Tai’s Kurtistown residence and, on May 13, pursuant to that warrant, recovered 240 gross grams of a substance testing positive for methamphetamine, more than 2,600 rounds of ammunition, more than $100,000 in U.S. currency, and a bump-stock device allowing a shooter of a semi-automatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger. Also recovered at the time of the search and Tai’s arrest were a semi-automatic handgun and five “ghost guns,” generally defined as unserialized firearms that are often sold through kits and assembled at home.

Tai is charged in the criminal complaint with one count of methamphetamine trafficking and one count of possessing the semi-automatic handgun during and in relation to the methamphetamine trafficking. If indicted and convicted on those charges, Tai faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of ten years and a maximum penalty up to life imprisonment on the methamphetamine charge and, on the firearm charge, a mandatory term of five years in prison consecutive to the imprisonment on the drug charge. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated May 18, 2021

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses