Drug Court grad in jail after plea in another case

WAILUKU – A Waihee man is serving a six-month jail term after he was arrested with drugs during a traffic stop about four months after he graduated from the Maui Drug Court program.

Kirk Chong Kee, 52, also was placed on five years’ probation as part of his sentence imposed Nov. 15.

He had pleaded no contest to third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia in connection with his arrest Feb. 4, 2012.

That night, Chong Kee was stopped for not using a turn signal. He was in a vehicle with two women. Police reported finding a smoking pipe containing 0.28 gram of methamphetamine, which Chong Kee admitted was his, according to police reports.

Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones said Chong Kee lied to police, saying the drugs had been there for two years.

“He’s had a lifelong struggle with dangerous drugs,” said Deputy Public Defender William “Pili” McGrath.

Chong Kee said he wants to change.

Second Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo said Chong Kee had received treatment and services while participating in the Maui Drug Court as an alternative to incarceration. He spent about two years in the program before having drug charges dismissed when he graduated in October 2011, according to court records.

“Then four months later, you relapse,” Loo told Chong Kee. “Either you didn’t learn or you were just pretending to learn. You’re not some young kid. I don’t know what part of ‘I can’t use drugs’ you don’t understand.”

A plea agreement between the defense and prosecution recommended that Chong Kee spend 50 weekends in jail as part of his probation.

In ordering the six-month jail term, Loo said the court usually doesn’t sentence defendants to weekends in jail. She noted that the probation department had recommended prison for Chong Kee.

“This is the last opportunity at probation,” Loo said.

Chong Kee was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs, including medical marijuana, as part of his probation.