Man Arrested for Alleged Drug Trafficking Between California and Hawaii

After an investigation that had lasted for months, according to police, an arrest has been made. The man was a suspect in alleged drug trafficking and taking part in an operation that brought heroin and methamphetamine with him from California.

Kauai Police arrested the man, Kameron Lawhead after a woman called them to report he was carrying drugs in his car, according to police. The officer who arrested Lawhead said a police dog detected narcotics in Lawhead’s vehicle when he was being arrested, and a subsequent search turned up 14.4 grams of crystal meth.

Lawhead was charged for promoting the drug in the second degree. He was held on $500,000 bail. According to a spokesperson of the county, Lawhead reported symptoms, and he had to be taken to Wilcox Medical Center for treatment before being returned to the custody of the KPD.

The resident in question has a criminal record with 25 years of counts. Lawhead is called a “career criminal” by the officer in charge of his arrest, and “an admitted addict.” He also said the man has experience in drug-related and violent crime, has financial resources, and has contacts in California, Oregon, and Hawaii.

After his arrest in 2018 (drug-related), Lawhead paid bail and left Hawaii. He was taken in by Oregon State Police for possession of drugs as well as a restricted weapon. The police claim Lawhead to be “aware that he had a pending warrant and fled to Oregon on the belief that they would not extradite to Hawaii,” based on conversations they allegedly heard him have over the phone.

When Lawhead was deported back to Kauai, he made bail again, released until his trial.

In February, Lawhead was arrested once again, this time for allegedly stabbing a man in an altercation. Police say he immediately made bail with $10k out-of-pocket.

He was arrested once again after, on charges of drug possession. He awaits trial.

Student Creates App Called “Banana Plug” to Sell Drugs

Colin Howard, an 18-year-old college freshman, is facing charges for allegedly creating an app to sell drugs, calling it “Banana Plug.”

This was not a one-time offense. Howard had previously been arrested on Nov. 28 in his college dorm on the campus of the University of California, Santa Cruz. He was faced with similar charges, and he pleads not guilty. After being indicted on Feb.18, he has again pleaded not guilty.

According to the prosecutor, the investigation began when a police officer noticed a poster advertising the app. The word ‘plug’ is slang for a drug dealer, and the ‘banana’ came from the school mascot: a banana slug.

The app could be downloaded from the Apple store, and it was advertised as a free game. The motto read as: “We Have What You Want.” Allegedly, users could place drug orders through the app. According to authorities, it offered a variety of drugs, including cocaine, methamphetamine, “molly” or “ecstasy,” and “shrooms” or psychedelic mushrooms.

Campus police worked alongside the Department of Homeland Security officers to investigate. They went undercover, posing as buyers, and completed four buys using the app. Their purchases included marijuana, cocaine, and over five grams of methamphetamine. This led them to their culprit and to make their arrest.

Scott Hernandez-Jason, a spokesman for the school, reportedly said that Howard is “no longer a student at UC Santa Cruz.” Student privacy laws keep the circumstances of this unclear, so the public does not know if he left voluntarily or was expelled.

If convicted, Howard could face millions of dollars in fines and decades in prison.

Banana Plug isn’t the first app or online digital platform used for illegal activity. In the current day and age, the internet can be utilized for criminal purposes. The dark web, for example, is a part of the internet only accessible by special software. This “dark web” allows users to remain anonymous. For a few years, the Silk Road was a website on the dark web that worked as a black-market. The transaction took place through bitcoin, a crypto-currency.

Even without the use of the dark web, crime can often be carried out over the web. The Washington Post cites Grindr, a dating app for gay men, to be regularly used for drug deals.

It’s not difficult to see crime through the internet to grow as it becomes more popular and widely-used.

The Meth Epidemic in Fresno, CA

A recent documentary uploaded to the website vice.com brought attention to the methamphetamine issue in Fresno, CA once again. The documentary follows the people of Fresno and their interactions with drugs on the street.

According to Vice, “Meth is the number one threat for the central valley drug task force.”

Some have believed Fresno to be the meth capital of the U.S. Though that is not statistically accurate, Fresno has certainly gained a reputation for it.

In 2009, the BBC released a documentary entitled The City Addicted to Crystal Meth, which was filmed in Fresno, California. It would seem that Fresno hasn’t quite been to shed the reputation. The documentary Vice released entitled The Crystal Meth Epidemic Plaguing Fresno looks into how this drug affects people in Fresno, specifically Latinx people.

Central California’s proximity to the border and the highways that run through it, makes Fresno the perfect place for drug cartels from Mexico to stop and unload. The abundant amount of drugs that exist in California because this is said to account for the low costs of methamphetamines.

Vice speaks with a man who provides charity healthcare to drug users and is a part of the needle exchange program. Needle exchange programs switch out the needles of intravenous drug users for sterile ones to fight against infection and disease among users. They also speak with a drug dealer who provides drugs to the homeless and the deputy sheriff from the Fresno Sheriff Department. While everyone seems to have different ideas on how to solve the problem, it seems they can all agree that there is a problem.

In a segment that ABC30 did as a commentary on this documentary, they acknowledge the issue of meth in Fresno.

Action News speaks to a homeless woman named Katherine who acknowledges that there is a drug issue within the homeless community of Fresno. She also mentions that those issues can be seen anywhere and among anyone. A neighbor of hers who is also homeless, Ronnie, mentions that not all homeless people use drugs, though some do.

Sheriff Mims, a guest on the segment, also cites the low price of methamphetamines to be an essential factor in the widespread addiction. Additionally, she says that Prop 47, a law that reduces certain drug possession felonies to misdemeanors, could be at fault for the current drug rates.