According to a federal judge on Thursday, an agreement that would have sentenced former Kauai County Councilman Arthur Brun to 15 years in prison on charges that he was the leader of a methamphetamine ring that was supplied by the United Samoan Organization, an organized crime group that operates in and out of the Hawaii prison system, should have been accepted.
After being arrested in 2020 on a slew of felonies, including dealing methamphetamine, firearms offenses, and assaulting a law enforcement officer, Brun was a sitting member of the Kauai County Council at the time of his arrest.
Brun, who faced a possible life term in jail, entered a guilty plea in November as part of a plea bargain that would have resulted in a 15-year prison sentence without the possibility of parole.
However, because U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson rejected the agreement reached between the Justice Department and Brun’s defense attorney Rustam Barbee, federal prosecutors and Barbee will have to come up with a new agreement that proposes a longer prison sentence — or Brun will face a trial — before Brun can be sentenced.
The permission of a federal court would be required before a new agreement could be reached.
Sentencing day for Katherine Kealoha outside US District Court.
Former Kauai County Councilman Arthur Brun was sentenced to 15 years in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson.
Brun set to get smoked at trial, no pun intended
“The judge rejected our agreement with the prosecutors and found that 15 years of a man’s life in federal prison was insufficient punishment for Mr. Brun,” Barbee said. It was not enough for the judge to accept the government’s demand for its pound of flesh.
A dozen people were arrested in February 2020 on multiple felony charges, including distribution of methamphetamine, firearms violations, witness and evidence tampering, and assaulting a law enforcement officer. Brun was one of those arrested, and he was the former vice-chairman of the Kauai County Council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee.
In February 2020, Arthur Brun was serving his second term as a councilor on the island of Kauai when he was charged with participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy by a federal grand jury.
A large number of special agents from Hawaii, Alaska, and the United States mainland were dispatched to Kauai to work on the investigation.
In order to acquire video and audio evidence, they intercepted Brun’s cell phone. In total, officers apprehended four kilos of crystal meth, known locally as “batu” or “ice,” as well as thousands of dollars in cash from persons suspected of being engaged in the operation.
As part of the investigation leading up to the federal charges, Brun was arrested in October 2019 on suspicion of assaulting a law enforcement officer who was conducting a traffic stop in collaboration with federal agents at the time of his detention.
Then, in February 2020, while out on bond, Brun was involved in a traffic accident that resulted in the injuries of a 6-year-old child and a man when Brun crossed the center line and collided head-on with a pickup truck.
Barbee has described his client as a methamphetamine addict who also happens to be “a good person who made a bad decision.”