WAILUKU - A 31-year-old Wailuku man who admitted to police that he had sold drugs was sentenced Tuesday to a 10-year prison term.
For his conviction for attempted second-degree methamphetamine trafficking, Jonathan Teixeira was ordered to spend at least two years in prison before being eligible for parole.
Second Circuit Judge Peter Cahill followed a plea agreement in sentencing Teixeira, who also had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and two counts of possessing drug paraphernalia.
"These are really serious offenses," Cahill said. "This goes beyond the possession and use of dangerous drugs, which is not healthy for you, not healthy for your family, not healthy for the community."
According to court records, some of the charges stemmed from an April 7 police search of a 2005 Honda sedan in which Teixeira had been a passenger. Police vice officers reported finding more than 24 grams of crystal methamphetamine in packets and in a container in the car, as well as empty packets and a gram scale. Police also recovered an electronic benefit transfer card belonging to a welfare benefit recipient who told police he had traded the card to Teixeira in exchange for crystal methamphetamine.
Three days later, after police officers located Teixeira in a Lexus in Happy Valley, he ran and was seen tossing four plastic packets containing crystal methamphetamine from his shorts pocket, according to police. After being arrested, Teixeira told police he had been supplied 1 ounce of
crystal methamphetamine and had sold one-eighth ounce for $385, court documents show.
Deputy Prosecutor Timothy Tate said Teixeira was at a "turning point," noting he had been in the Maui Drug Court program offering treatment and supervision as well as in a prison drug treatment program.
"He's had the benefit of all the system can offer," Tate said.
Teixeira apologized to his family "and anybody I've harmed through the things I have done."
Cahill said he hoped Teixeira wouldn't be back in court after he completes his sentence.
"It's real easy to write a letter," the judge said. "But actions speak louder than words and letters are just words. We live by our actions, and we are punished by our actions as well."
According to the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center, Teixeira has prior convictions for second-degree burglary, second-degree forgery and attempted second-degree theft.
In another sentencing Tuesday, a 34-year-old Kahului man was placed on five years' probation for drug charges.
Paulino Verzosa Jr. was given credit for nearly nine months he had previously spent in jail.
He had pleaded no contest to two counts of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia in connection with police searches of him and his Aoloa Loop residence on March 15, 2011.
That day, police vice officers reported finding $2,863 in Verzosa's pocket, methamphetamine and a glass smoking pipe containing methamphetamine residue in his bathroom and numerous empty plastic packets in his bedroom, according to court records. An electric gun was found in the driver's side panel of his vehicle, police reported.
Since being released on supervision when he changed his plea, Verzosa has been attending outpatient drug treatment, said Deputy Public Defender Wendy Hudson.
She said his prior convictions were more than 10 years old.
Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones said Verzosa hadn't been convicted of many violent crimes "for the last decade because he was in prison."
In September 2001, Verzosa was sentenced to a 10-year prison term after being convicted of two firearms offenses, first-degree reckless endangering, third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, possessing drug paraphernalia and four counts of first-degree terroristic threatening, according to the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center.
In that case, Verzosa threatened to shoot and shot at someone running away from him, with bullets hitting a house, Jones said.
"His history shows a propensity for violence," she said. "He's got to change his criminal mind-set."
She said the prosecution made the agreement recommending probation for Verzosa in his most recent case because of a defense motion to dismiss the case based on delays and in light of the time he had already spent in jail.
Cahill said Verzosa's criminal history dating back more than 20 years to his years as a juvenile was "quite astonishing."
But the judge said he was following the plea agreement in sentencing Verzosa in part because he had complied with requirements of his release on supervision and showed up for his sentencing.
"Probation is going to be on you like a hawk," Cahill told Verzosa.
As part of his probation, Verzosa was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs.
The electric gun and other items seized in the police search were forfeited.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.