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Prominent Native Hawaiian rights advocate sentenced to 18 years for meth trafficking

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A longtime advocate for Native Hawaiians and member of the Polynesia Voyaging Society will serve an 18-year prison sentence for methamphetamine trafficking.

Sam Kapoi, 35, of Waianae on Oʻahu pleaded guilty in May to conspiring to distribute and possess 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Kapoi was responsible for distributing more than 26 pounds of methamphetamine over the course of nine months on Oʻahu and the Big Island, according to information presented in court.

District Judge Jill A. Otake described Kapoi’s conduct as “injecting poison” into communities that lack the resources to deal with methamphetamine addictions, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

“Methamphetamine remains the dominant drug of abuse in Hawaiʻi, and this conviction and sentence demonstrate the price methamphetamine traffickers can pay for continuing to pursue this path to profit,” said acting U.S. Attorney Judith A. Philips.

Besides his 18-year prison sentence, Kapoi will also serve five additional years of supervised release. He has been ordered to report to prison in January 2022.

Kapoi is known in the community for promoting Native Hawaiian culture and advocating for issues that benefit that constituency. He sailed with the voyaging canoe Hōkūleʻa in 2002.

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