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Honolulu Businessman Accused Of Murder, Organized Crime

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Casey Harlow / HPR
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A Honolulu businessman led a violent organized crime ring that committed acts including murder, kidnapping, drug trafficking, extortion, money laundering and chemical weapons attacks, U.S. authorities said Wednesday.

Michael Miske Jr. whose businesses included a termite and pest company and a nightclub, conspired in a murder-for-hire plot that led to the kidnapping and killing of a man named Johnathan Fraser in 2016, according to a federal superseding indictment unsealed Wednesday after Miske and seven alleged associates were arrested.

A prior indictment charged Miske and another defendant with a cocaine trafficking conspiracy.

Miske instructed a co-conspirator to come up with a plan for Fraser's kidnapping and murder and that person “could name the price for carrying out the murder,” the indictment said.

Miske purchased a Boston Whaler boat to dump Fraser's body into the ocean, the indictment said.

One co-defendant remained at-large Wednesday, and two others were already in state custody. Eight others received letters informing them they are subjects or targets in the sprawling, years-long investigation, U.S. Attorney for Hawaii Kenji Price said.

“Mr. Miske, a long time legitimate business owner in Honolulu, will be pleading not guilty to all charges,” said his attorney, Thomas Otake. “We are confident the evidence in the end will demonstrate his innocence, and we look forward to our day in court.”

Miske and others allegedly conspired to release toxic chemicals into Honolulu nightclubs. “As part of this conspiracy, chloropicrin was released into two different nightclubs,” prosecutors said.

Various defendants are accused of trafficking drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine.

The company, Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control, did provide some legitimate services, but it also served as a headquarters for planning crimes including laundering illicit money and fraudulently employing people whose so-called work involved violence on behalf of Miske's enterprise, prosecutors said.

If convicted of murder and other charges, Miske could face the federal death penalty if the U.S. attorney general choose to pursue the death penalty, Price said.

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