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Kaua?i Councilman Denied Bail, Faces Trial In April On Drug Charges

Casey Harlow/HPR
Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Federal Building

A judge on Wednesday denied bail for Kaua?i Council Member Arthur Brun, who will remain in federal custody for now on drug charges. He could be released at a later date. 

Brun appeared in U.S. District Court for his detention hearing. The councilman was arrested with 11 others last week during a drug sweep on Kaua?i.

He faces 10 felony charges that include drug trafficking, possession, and distribution. Prosecutors say Brun headed an islandwide ring that sold methamphetamine and used as a source a gang known as the United Samoan Organization that operates in and out of the state prison system.

Brun has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Arthur Brun mug shot on his arrest in October 2019.
Credit Kauai Police Department
Kauai Police Department

The councilman's arrest stunned and disappointed residents of Kaua?i, where drug use -- especially among youth -- has been a longstanding problem.

Brun's attorney, Rustam Barbee, said he was not prepared to rebut the prosecutor’s case at this time. But he reserved the right to revisit the topic of Brun’s possible release at a later date.

He believes the council member is not likely to leave the state.

"He's a lifelong resident of Kaua?i. He’s never traveled outside of the country and never held a passport. So I don’t believe he’s a flight risk," Barbee said.

Barbee had no further comments on the case, but said he hasn’t really had an opportunity to talk to his client.

Brun’s trial is tentatively set for April 27th.


Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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