15 Defendants Charged For Involvement With Hawaii Game Rooms
News Release from US DoJ, September 17, 2019
HONOLULU – Federal charges against 15 defendants and the seizure of thousands of dollar’s worth of property and funds were announced today by U.S Attorney for the District of Hawaii Kenji M. Price.
The fifteen individuals charged include:
Zongqi Ding (33), Tommy Can Wei Lee (50), Zhong Chen (38), Endrews Setefano (31), Paolo Ioane (30), and Matthew Samuela (31) who were charged with conducting, financing, managing, supervising, directing, or owning a gambling business operated out of a single-family residence from October 2018 to August 2019 at 94-103 Pupupuhi Street in Waipahu.
Jason Ishizuka (38), Aiyan Zhang (33), Seng Long Lio (30), Shi Min Huang (33), Alex Hui Zhang (29), and Freddy Siatunuu (31) who were charged with conducting, financing, managing, supervising, directing, or owning a gambling business operated out of a single-family residence from October 2018 to August 2019 at 1577 Hoolehua Street in Pearl City. In addition, Siatunuu has been charged with robbery for the July 22, 2019 robbing of a patron at gunpoint at the illegal gambling business located at 1577 Hoolehua Street after the patron won an estimated $4,000 playing an electronic video gambling machine.
Kenneth Puahi (47) who was charged with arson of a building used in interstate commerce. According to the indictment, during 2018, Puahi leased a space in a commercial warehouse located at 94-170 Leoole Street in Waipahu. The warehouse owners were notified that the leased space was suspected of being used for unlawful gambling and took steps to evict Puahi. On, April 14, 2019, Puahi maliciously damaged and attempted to damage the warehouse by setting it on fire.
Pauulu Lavatai (21) who was charged with robbery and using a firearm to commit a crime of violence. According to the criminal complaint, on February 3, 2019, Lavatai and an unidentified male entered an illegal game room located on Liliha Street. The two pistol whipped the security officer, took money from a female cashier and fled the scene.
Ifo Nimoai, Jr. (35) who was charged with possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute, possession of firearm in furtherance of drug tracking crime, and felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. According to the criminal complaint, on November 29, 2018, Nimoai possessed with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana. Additionally, Nimoai knowingly possessed a .45 caliber pistol and ammunition and did so after having been previously convicted of a felony.
The aforementioned charges are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
These cases are being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security (Homeland Security Investigations), Hawaii High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program (HIDTA), U.S. Marshals Service Hawaii Fugitive Task Force, and the Honolulu Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Micah Smith, Rachel Moriyama, Sara Ayabe, Jeremy Butler, Mohammed Khatib, and Sydney Spector are handling the cases.
Big Q: What’s your reaction to the federal-city crackdown on illegal gambling?
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