Man charged with possessing, trying to sell meth

The Maui News

WAILUKU — A Kahului man has been released on supervision following his arrest last month on drug charges for allegedly possessing and attempting to sell methamphetamine.

George Ballao Jr., 60, has pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree promoting of a dangerous drug, second-degree promoting of a dangerous drug and third-degree promoting of a dangerous drug.

During a bail hearing last month in 2nd Circuit Court, Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones asked that Ballao’s bail remain at $100,000, “given his history, which is significant and involves not only the possession but the distribution of methamphetamine, and the allegations in this case.”

She said police had a search warrant for Ballao when he was contacted in the community Sept. 2, 2017, and found with a waistpack containing methamphetamine packaged for sale.

In a search of his residence, police reported finding more methamphetamine and a ledger, Jones said.

She said Ballao reported using methamphetamine off and on for 40 years and also reported he relapsed at the end of 2015 after being clean for 10 years.

Ballao reported that he usually sells methamphetamine in amounts ranging from one-eighth ounce to one-half ounce, Jones said.

“Based on this investigation, it appears he was actively engaged in the distribution of methamphetamine,” she said.

Ballao was convicted in 2005 in federal court for possession with intent to distribute over 5 grams of methamphetamine and was sentenced to five years in prison, Jones said.

Deputy Public Defender Ben Lowenthal asked that Ballao be released on supervision, as a bail study recommended.

Although Ballao has a drug-related criminal history, his last conviction was over 13 years ago, Lowenthal said.

“We’re dealing with accusations,” Lowenthal said.

Judge Rhonda Loo followed the bail study recommendation to release Ballao on supervision. He was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs.

A Feb. 25 pretrial conference is set for Ballao.


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