Addiction to drugs leads to 10 years in prison

WAILUKU — A 10-year prison term was ordered for a man who said he had “let my addiction control my life” when methamphetamine was found in a backpack he discarded while fleeing from police.

Kainoa Duarte, 43, of Pukalani had pleaded no contest to second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug.

Police reported finding more than one-eighth ounce of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in the backpack he dropped while fleeing from police Dec. 14, 2016, on Market Street near Takamiya Market in Wailuku.

In another case, Duarte pleaded no contest to two counts of second-degree theft.

He pawned a camera that was among more than $9,000 in belongings stolen from a vehicle that was parked at Lahaina Cannery Mall in September 2015.

“You basically ruined these Michigan visitors’ vacation,” 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo said in sentencing Duarte on Wednesday.

She said Duarte had been in the court system for 10 or 11 years.

“You’ve had convictions up the yin yang, some very minor, some very major,” Loo said.

Duarte graduated from the Maui Drug Court program of treatment and supervision.

“For way too long, I have let my addiction control my life, telling myself I wasn’t hurting anyone but me,” he said in court. “But that’s not true for the people whose camera I pawned. It’s not true for my family who sit in the gallery and has been affected by my ice addition. They hurt more than I do.”

A plea agreement between the defense and prosecution recommended prison for Duarte.

“I’m not happy to be getting sentenced to prison, but if I wasn’t, right now I’d be on the streets doing the same thing,” he said. “I’ve wasted the first half of my life and missed out on my children’s. I will not take the second half for granted.”

Duarte was ordered to pay $9,445 in restitution.