Wailuku man released from jail after 6 months in drugs, weapons case

WAILUKU — A Wailuku man was released from jail Aug. 14 after being incarcerated for more than six months after he was found with drugs and a shotgun in his car last year.

The shotgun was in a rifle case in the back seat of a Volkswagen sedan that Daniel Cooley was standing next to when police responded to a call reporting he was seen with a shotgun after 10 p.m. Aug. 22 in a Kahului neighborhood.

Police reported finding Cooley, 26, at South Oahu Street and Hina Avenue.

“The worst thing about this case is that the firearm that you had was loaded,” 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo told Cooley. “I know you didn’t shoot anybody, but you had a loaded firearm in your vehicle.

“Why would you need a loaded firearm? You have children. People have access to your car. Somebody else could have gotten hold of that weapon.”

Cooley had pleaded no contest to possessing a loaded firearm on a public highway, keeping a firearm in an improper place, not having a permit to acquire a firearm, two counts of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.

“Daniel was in a weird place,” said his attorney, David Sereno. “I know there’s a gun, but the gun was in the back seat. He was living on the street. He was getting mobbed on a regular basis.”

After spending more time than he expected in jail, Cooley realizes what he did, Sereno said.

He said Cooley had a place to live and job opportunities.

Judge Loo followed a plea agreement in placing Cooley on four years’ probation and giving him credit for 197 days he had spent in jail.

She noted that Cooley’s girlfriend at the time said he wasn’t a danger and hadn’t harmed her.

“She said you’re actually a good guy, nothing happened,” Loo said. “That doesn’t excuse you from riding around with a Remington 870 shotgun with 12-gauge, high-velocity rounds and the drugs.”

Police reported finding Cooley with methamphetamine and cocaine.

Loo said Cooley had reported that during the last two years, his life revolved around using and selling drugs.

“I hope that 197 days made you realize you can’t live your life using and selling drugs,” she told Cooley.

He was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.

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