WAILUKU - A 77-year-old Kihei man, described as one of the targets of a police investigation into illegal prescription drug sales at Kalama Park, was taken into custody Wednesday to serve a three-month jail term.
Clarence Stone had asked to remain free, with his attorney citing Stone's age, health problems and addiction to oxycodone and oxycontin.
But 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen said there was no indication in doctors' reports and Stone's own statements to a probation officer that he suffered from drug addiction. In two random tests last year, Stone tested negative for all drug use, according to reports.
"He sells his prescriptions, that's what he's accused of doing," Bissen said. "He's convicted of selling the very drugs he receives from his doctor."
Stone had pleaded no contest to promoting a controlled substance in a public park.
He was among six people arrested in Operation Kill Pill, an undercover investigation run by the police Crime Reduction Unit from September to November 2011.
Stone sold 30 oxycodone pills to an undercover officer for $340, said Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones.
She said his conduct "was the No. 1 quality of life complaint on this island."
"A lot of people saw him do it for a long time," Jones said. "That was the community's perception. But on this day, it was the police's perception too."
Police said Stone and his brother Frank Stone, 83, were known to sell different types of prescription pills at the park daily, receiving $2,000 to $3,000 a day.
Clarence Stone's lawyer Hayden Aluli disputed the account, based on information from a police informant, which also said that Stone bought prescription pills from others and sold them on the wall at the Kihei park. "He is not a big pill pusher," Aluli said.
He asked that Stone be given a chance to keep the felony conviction off his record so he could remain on a waiting list for a federal housing subsidy.
Letters to the court described Stone as generous - which Stone attributed to the years in the 1970s and 1980s when he ran a successful plastering business. He said he now lives on a fixed income and does "small jobs."
"I couldn't make a living selling pills," Stone said. "I did sell some people pills once. I apologize for that."
While Stone was sentenced for his first felony conviction, his prior criminal history includes 65 arrests and 22 convictions, attorneys said.
"I don't think you can take the risk, take the reward and then avoid the penalty," Bissen told Stone. "That wouldn't be fair. I don't think you can hide behind these excuses."
Following a plea agreement between the defense and the prosecution, the judge placed Stone on five years' probation and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine. He was ordered to stay away from Kalama Park.
Two women arrested in the operation also were sentenced to jail terms this month.
A one-year jail term was ordered for Shayne Kennedy, 41, who had asked to be released before she completes the term to enter drug treatment. "I know I need help, and I'm not getting it in jail," she said in court Feb. 8.
Bissen said he wasn't inclined to grant her request for early release into drug treatment.
"I don't see that this defendant has a drug problem," Bissen said. "This is worse. This is someone who's selling drugs in our community."
Kennedy was arrested Sept. 26, 2011, when she sold 0.017 gram of methamphetamine for $60 to an undercover Crime Reduction Unit officer, police said.
Another defendant, Neilsa Rivera, 36, was arrested Oct. 17, 2011, when an undercover officer purchased 67 methadone pills from her for $200, Jones said.
At her sentencing Tuesday before 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill, Rivera was given credit for about six months she had spent in jail before being released on supervision in January.
Rivera and Kennedy were placed on five years' probation after both had pleaded no contest to promoting a controlled substance in a public park.
Cahill ordered Rivera to stay away from Kalama Park and to stay away from Frank and Clarence Stone as part of her probation.
At Kennedy's sentencing on Feb. 8, Jones said: "This is about second chances for her. She's in control of her future, and the way it turns out is going to be a direct reflection of the effort she puts into her probation."
When she was arrested, Kennedy was on probation for six counts each of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia in two 2010 cases.
"I was doing well on probation," Kennedy said in court.
Bissen noted that Kennedy had been on probation for seven months before she was arrested in the park.
"There was an incident that happened," Kennedy said. "I wasn't an active dealer. I was more concerned with putting $20 in my pocket because I was homeless at the time."
"So you thought it was OK to sell methamphetamine to our community at a public park?" the judge asked.
"It wasn't OK," Kennedy replied.
In addition to probation, Kennedy, who has already spent more than six months in jail, was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs.
Frank Stone is awaiting trial.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* This article includes a correction from the original published on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. An incorrect jail term was included in the headline. The Maui News apologizes for the error.