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Former Kauaʻi Councilmember Arthur Brun sentenced to 20 years for leading drug trafficking ring

Arthur Brun mug shot on his arrest in October 2019.
Kauaʻi Police Department
Kauaʻi Police Department
Arthur Brun's mug shot in October 2019.

Former Kauaʻi County Councilmember Arthur Brun was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in federal prison for leading a drug trafficking ring.

The sentencing came after Judge Derrick Watson struck down a 15-year plea deal Brun, 50, made with federal prosecutors earlier this year.

At a hearing in March, Watson said 15 years was too lenient for offenses including methamphetamine distribution, possession, assaulting a federal law enforcement officer, and both evidence and witness tampering.

“Although the defense disagrees with the severity of the sentence, it is clear from comments made during the hearing that the Judge considered and weighed all the factors in mitigation and aggravation before imposing the sentence he believed were warranted under the circumstances,” Brunʻs attorney Rustam Barbee said in a written statement.

According to the November plea deal, Brun had sought out drugs as a result of his deteriorating marriage and to relieve physical injuries. Prosecutors found that he did not make a significant profit from the drug trafficking activities, and most of the profit was used to support his own addiction.

As a sitting councilmember, Brun was first arrested in October 2019 following a high-speed chase during which Brun threw about 1 pound of methamphetamine out of the car and injured a Kauaʻi Police Department lieutenant.

He was federally indicted with 11 others in February 2020. Most of the others charged in the case have also pleaded guilty. When Brun pleaded guilty in late 2021, he said, "I got no excuse. I take full responsibility for it."

Brun was elected to public office in 2016 on an anti-drug platform and served as vice chair of the council's Public Safety and Human Services Committee. After his initial arrest and until December 2020, Brun continued to receive his councilmember salary as an ex-officio member, which stripped his voting rights.

According to court documents, Brun had trafficked controlled substances in the past, but after receiving drug treatment had been substance-free until 2018.

Sabrina Bodon was Hawaiʻi Public Radio's government reporter.
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