Man gets 5 years in gun case

WAILUKU – A Haiku man is serving a five-year prison term, after being convicted of brandishing a semiautomatic pistol during a confrontation in a Kihei parking lot.

Kawika Franco, 33, also was convicted of four felony counts of habitually driving under the influence of an intoxicant last year.

Although no alcohol was detected in his system when he was stopped in May and July, police said Franco was impaired to the point that he couldn’t drive and testing showed methamphetamine and other drugs in his system, according to court records.

In the firearm case, Franco had pleaded no contest to two counts of keeping an unloaded firearm in an improper place, two counts of prohibited possession of a firearm, keeping ammunition in an improper place, alteration of firearm identification marks, first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, three counts of third-degree assault, third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.

Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones said the Jan. 19, 2011, incident in a parking lot on East Lipoa Street “looked to be a drug deal gone bad.”

After another man confronted Franco with a machete, Franco pulled out a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol, Jones said. She said Franco sprayed bear spray into a car occupied by three people, including a child who required treatment. Police recovered the pistol, which was loaded with its hammer cocked, as well as 11 .45-caliber bullets, two magazines, night-vision goggles, a glass smoking pipe containing methamphetamine and $3,200 cash, Jones said.

In two other cases, Franco pleaded no contest to four counts of habitually driving under the influence of an intoxicant, four counts of driving after his license was suspended for intoxicated driving, three counts of not having insurance, two counts of illegal window tint, a child passenger restraint violation and a vehicle light violation.

The felony intoxicated driving charge can be brought when someone is arrested for intoxicated driving after three prior drunken-driving convictions within 10 years from the arrest date.

Franco’s prior convictions were in January 2010, January 2011 and February 2011, court records show.

His arrests last year occurred May 10 on Kahului Beach Road, May 18 at an impaired-driving roadblock on Waiehu Beach Road, July 14 on Makawao Avenue in Pukalani and July 19 on Haleakala Highway in Kula. Franco was driving a 2008 Honda Accord, which had an ignition interlock device installed. For the vehicle to start, the driver has to blow into the device, which measures the driver’s alcohol level.

Franco was ordered to pay $2,110 in fines and $2,180 in fees.

Second Circuit Judge Richard Bissen imposed the sentence Feb. 1.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at