Pukalani man gets 10 years for gun and drug charges

WAILUKU – A Pukalani man who admitted he had been selling drugs when police found methamphetamine, a rifle and ammunition in his car was sentenced Aug. 14 to a 10-year prison term.

Dino Malano, 43, had asked to be considered for probation.

Malano had a stroke last fall “caused by high blood pressure and ice use,” said Deputy Public Defender William “Pili” McGrath, questioning whether Malano would receive proper medical care while in prison.

“He has expensive illnesses,” McGrath said. “He’s a much quieter person now.”

Deputy Prosecutor Carson Tani recommended that Malano be sentenced to a 10-year prison term.

“He has a horrendous prior record,” Tani said. “There’s drug use dating back to 2001.”

Malano had pleaded not guilty to charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, being a felon in possession of ammunition, keeping an unloaded firearm in an improper place, keeping ammunition in an improper place, possession of a prohibited pistol magazine, second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.

In exchange, the prosecution dismissed another case against him.

Malano was arrested March 28, 2012, when police saw him in the driver’s seat of a 1989 Nissan sedan at the Pukalani Terrace Center at 1:20 a.m. The car had an expired safety sticker and delinquent automobile tax. When approached by a police officer, Malano said he didn’t have a driver’s license or insurance for the car and told the officer that he had earlier smoked crystal methamphetamine, according to the court records.

Police said Malano gave permission to search the car. An officer had opened the trunk when Malano ran onto Pukalani Street toward the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center, police reported. As he was being chased, Malano ran down a hill where he slipped and fell before he was apprehended.

In the trunk, police reported finding a rifle, a 10-round magazine holding eight rounds of ammunition and a 60-round magazine holding 17 rounds. Under state law, a magazine that can fit into a pistol cannot hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

During a search of Malano, police reported finding 3.9 grams of methamphetamine.

Second Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo noted that the Bushmaster assault rifle had been stolen from someone’s house. She said Malano admitted he was selling drugs to support himself and was smoking 20 joints of marijuana a day.

“You leave me no choice,” Loo told Malano in sentencing him to the prison term.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.