(BIVN) – Hawai‘i County Police are investigating how a “small quantity” of cocaine evidence, now used for training purposes, went missing from the department sometime before October 2017.
Police identified a person of interest in the case, though the name has not been released. The person is no longer working for the police, and is said to be a retired police detective.
Hawai‘i County Police Chief Paul Ferreira spoke with Sherry Bracken about the situation before Bracken broke the story. Part of that interview, conducted by phone, can be heard in the video above.
On March 15, after Bracken’s story appeared on HPR, the Hawai‘i County Police Department issued this media release:
In October 2017, both criminal and administrative investigations were initiated after it was discovered that cocaine recovered as evidence in 2014, was found to be lighter than reported during its initial recovery. The discrepancy was discovered when the evidence was being weighed in preparation to utilize a small quantity of the cocaine for training purposes. The investigation quickly identified a sworn employee as being a person of interest for the missing portions of the drug.
The employee was immediately placed on Administrative Leave without pay and subsequent audits of other evidence recovered by the officer revealed other anomalies which revealed cases whereby there was a weight discrepancy in marijuana concentrate, (Hashish), from two separate investigations. The investigations from which the evidence came from had been suspended as those cases had no suspects.
The identified employee has since retired and is no longer employed by the County. The department has tightened up procedures in order to ensure a similar scenario cannot be repeated. The department has also conducted additional audits to ensure these incidents have not also been perpetrated by anyone else.
The criminal investigation which included consultation and collaboration with the Hawai`i County Prosecuting Attorney’s office was formally referred to the Prosecutor’s Office for their review on March 2, 2018. In that the investigation has been turned over to the Prosecutor’s Office, further comments regarding this matter will not be made.
Hawai‘i County Prosecutor Mitch Roth confirmed that his office is reviewing the case.
CORRECTION to first paragraph, changed to before October 2017.