With a primary election just weeks away, the Hawai`i state Narcotics Enforcement Division has restarted its Marijuana Eradication program over the Big Island.
According to a report Wednesday in the Hawaii Tribune Herald, Hawaii Narco chief Keith Kamita said the state Narcotics Enforcement Division had restarted helicopter missions on Sunday.
The Tribune-Herald reported “numerous calls from Nanawale Estates, Ainaloa and Mountain View to report police rappelling from helicopters in those areas. Some estimate the choppers hovering at a height of 100 feet or less above the ground.”
An eyewitness in the Mountain View area reported that state helicopters landed in his neighbor’s yard looking for cannabis plants. The eyewitness showed this reporter a video of the event on his cell phone camera. The eyewitness reported that the event took place on Tuesday, August 17, 2010, while his wife and children were in the home. He reported that the target residence also contained a family. The video showed a two seat helicopter landing in a backyard.
Local police are assisting state narcotics agents, in spite of the passage of the 2008 Ballot One initiative, making marijuana offenses the lowest police priority.
According to an August 20 report in the Hawaii Tribune Herald, state law enforcement seized 6,653 Cannabis plants during during this week’s marijuana eradication action.
Hawaii narco chief Keith Kamita told the Tribune-Herald that 59 residences on the Big Island were investigated for medical marijuana permits.
Kamita said that no arrests were made during raids, but that “excess marijuana” was confiscated.
It was confirmed that local police were involved in the raids, in possible violation of Hawaii County’s Lowest Police Priority Law, making 24 plants and 24 ounces legal to posses on the Big Island.
The confiscation of “excess marijuana” in combination with no arrests might lead a casual observer to question whether state narcotics police may be testing the Ballot One law.
The Tribune-Herald reported multiple calls from Puna, where residents report that helicopters “were hovering less than 100 feet above the ground while officers rappelled into fields and yards. Another claimed the copters flew low over a school, frightening and perhaps endangering students.”