HONOLULU – Edward Caspino, 46, of Waianae, William Caspino, 48, of Waianae, Lavern Joseph, 71, of Waianae, and Kerilyn Keliinoi, 31, of Waianae were arraigned today on a four-count Indictment returned by a federal grand jury on October 26, 2023. All four pled not guilty, and trial was set for January 17, 2024. Two other defendants, Fauston Aragon, Jr., 65, of Pearl City, and Howard Unebasami, 80, of Waianae, are expected to appear later this week.
Counts 1 and 2 of the Indictment charge all six defendants with conspiracy and the operation of an illegal gambling business. According to the Indictment, the defendants conducted, financed, managed, supervised, directed or owned an illegal gambling business at a property in Waianae. The group allegedly hosted multiple, large-scale chicken fights, called “derbies,” at the property between June 2020 and March 2023, that involved gambling on the fights, as well as other unlawful games of chance. Count 3 charges Edward Caspino with the operation of illegal game rooms.
If convicted, each defendant faces a term of imprisonment of up to five years, a fine of up to $250,000, and supervised release of up to three years on each of Counts 1, 2, and 3.
Edward Caspino also made an initial appearance today on a separate Criminal Complaint in which he is charged with three counts of distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. According to the Criminal Complaint, on three occasions in July 2021, Edward Caspino distributed approximately one pound of methamphetamine to an individual working with federal law enforcement. Each of these counts carries a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years incarceration, a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000,000.
The charges in the Indictment and Criminal Complaint are merely accusations, and each of the charged individuals is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. In the case of conviction, any sentence would be imposed by a United States District Judge based on the statutory sentencing factors and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The charges are the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Coast Guard Investigative Service. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael F. Albanese.