WAILUKU - A Vietnam War veteran lost his house and was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine after police found 5 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of his car three years ago.
Michael Covich, 64, also was placed on five years' probation.
Second Circuit Judge Shackley Raffetto had agreed to follow a plea agreement in sentencing Covich to probation and ordering the fine Thursday.
Covich had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of first-degree promotion of a detrimental drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.
Police reported executing a warrant to search his residence on Laniloa Place in Haiku on Oct. 5, 2006, and finding an indoor marijuana-growing operation.
Bags containing marijuana and $16,438 cash were found in Covich's BMW that was parked in the driveway, police reported.
Noting that Covich hasn't been charged with additional crimes since his arrest three years ago, Deputy Prosecutor Timothy Tate said probation was appropriate.
A veteran received an honorable discharge after serving one year in Vietnam, Covich had used alternative medicine to treat a medical condition, said Deputy Public Defender Adriel Menor.
"It's clear he's a tireless advocate for veterans," Menor said. "He's also a family man. He's close to not only his family but the families of these veterans he works for."
Tate said it might have been appropriate for Covich to experiment with marijuana after suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, but the amount of the drug seized by police exceeded amounts for personal use.
"I think he knows why he's here," Tate said. "He cannot make a living selling marijuana."
Tate said Covich lost his home and his vehicle through forfeiture proceedings.
* This article includes a correction from the original published on Friday, September 25, 2009. The decoration and duration of Covich's service in Vietnam were incorrect. The Maui News apologizes for the errors.