Hawai‘i Public Radio has learned that the Hawai‘i County Police Department is missing some illegal drugs from its evidence room. Police Chief Paul Ferreira says the case involves cocaine and hashish. The investigation has now been referred to the county prosecutor and the case is continuing to develop. HPR contributing reporter Sherry Bracken has the exclusive story from Hawai‘i Island.
Police Chief Paul Ferreira says officers have been investigating a case which includes a retired county detective as a “person of interest.”
“It’s an ongoing investigation, it involves drugs that appear to be missing from one of our evidence packages, and the way it was discovered was the weights didn’t match.”
Ferreira explains that when drugs are used as evidence in a case, once the case is closed, the drugs are usually destroyed.
A small amount can be put aside for use in the training of recruits, or drug dogs. And those drugs are tracked very carefully.
“When you submit a case to evidence, it’s weighed. When they took it out, they weighed it before they were going to take anything for training, because it was a closed case. And that’s when they found there was a discrepancy in the weight.”
Ferreira would not identify the retired detective who is a person of interest, nor would he say how much cocaine and hashish is missing from the police evidence room. He stressed that a procedural error might be to blame, adding that there is “no solid proof it was stolen.”
Chief Ferreira says that when vice detectives discovered that cocaine was missing, all drug cases handled by the detective in question were reviewed. That’s when they discovered that hashish was missing too, with missing evidence going back as far as 2014.
Hawai‘i County prosecutor Mitch Roth confirmed the case has recently been referred to his office.