Honolulu, Hawaii – Ping Hong Lee of Honolulu, Hawaii, was arraigned today before Magistrate Judge Wes R. Porter on an indictment charging conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. He pleaded not guilty to the offenses. Trial is scheduled for March 30, 2021 before Senior District Court Judge Helen Gilmore
US Attorney for the District of Hawaii Kenji M. Price announced the charges.
As set forth in court filings, on January 13, 2021, law enforcement officers observed Lee, the lone occupant of a 2018 Porsche Macan GTS, pull into the pick-up area of a Waikiki Hotel. While there, a male entered the backseat of the Porsche with a dark blue duffle bag and then exited without the dark blue duffle bag. After Lee drove away, law enforcement officers tried to conduct a stop of the Porsche but were unsuccessful. The Porsche and Lee were found minutes later. Within the Porsche, law enforcement officers recovered approximately 11 kilograms (approximately 24 pounds) of cocaine from within the dark blue duffle bag, a loaded Charter Arms .38 caliber pistol, and US currency.
As charged in the indictment, Lee has a prior 2012 federal drug distribution felony conviction.
The charges announced today are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted of the charges, Lee faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years of incarceration and up to life.
The case was investigated by the DEA. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Darren W.K. Ching.