Man who hid meth pipe in his baby’s diaper gets jail time

WAILUKU — Saying a defendant needed to understand the seriousness of his drug addiction, a judge ordered a one-year jail term for a man who hid a methamphetamine smoking pipe in his infant son’s diaper when police showed up to search a Molokai residence.

About eight months after drugs were seized in the September 2015 search, Aaron Moran, 55, of Kaunakakai was arrested again May 19, 2016, when police found a methamphetamine pipe in his vehicle at One Alii Beach Park in Kaunakakai.

In arguing for the one-year jail term, Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones cited Moran’s conduct when police officers executed a search warrant Sept. 24, 2015, at the residence at 95 Manako Lane in Kaunakakai, where Moran and others lived.

After police cleared the residence, Moran was allowed to hold his 8-month-old son. His wife was changing the baby’s diaper when police reported seeing the methamphetamine pipe against the child’s scrotum.

Jones said a police officer reported seeing a burn mark on the baby. Moran wasn’t charged with injuring the child.

“It’s not where someone tries to hide a pipe in the console between car seats,” she said. “He put it in the baby’s pants. It was outrageous conduct.”

Moran had pleaded no contest to two counts of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia in two cases. A plea agreement between the defense and prosecution recommended probation for Moran, with the prosecution able to ask that he serve up to one year in jail.

In court Thursday, Moran asked to be spared a jail term, saying he had been sober for 10 months.

“I have been on this path,” he said. “I have been sober. My kids are more important than anything. My kids need me.  

“I can get treatment if it’s necessary. I really don’t think I need it.”

Moran’s wife said she had seen him change. She said their 2-year-old child was just returned to their custody.

Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza asked Moran what he had been thinking between his first arrest in September 2015 and his second arrest in May 2016.

In the September 2015 search, “when you look at everything that was seized as a result of this, you have a very serious drug problem,” Cardoza told Moran.

“Your conduct at the time gives an indication of the depth of the problem,” Cardoza said.

“At the time, I did have a drug problem,” Moran said. “If you give me the chance to prove myself, I will take treatment.”

Cardoza asked why Moran hadn’t thought about doing that after the first arrest.

“I don’t know how to answer that, your honor,” Moran said.

“That may be a tough question for anyone to answer,” Cardoza said. “I guess what it indicates is how serious this problem is. A lot of people resolve to get it right when they come here and after they leave, memory seems to fade.

“They recovered some very incriminating evidence, but you were back to the same kind of conduct. So that’s a troubling aspect of the case.

“This problem’s not just going to disappear,” Cardoza said. “It’s not just going away because you come to court. I’ve got to get you to understand just how serious this is.”

Moran was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs as part of four years’ probation for the drug charges. He was ordered to pay a $250 fine for the paraphernalia charge.

“You cannot go down this road again,” Cardoza told Moran. “The impact on your freedom is significant. The impact on your life is staggering.”

Co-defendant Kathy Puaa, 65, who was living with her husband at the Kaunakakai residence that was searched, is awaiting sentencing after pleading no contest to a reduced charge of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.

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

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