WAILUKU - A man arrested after police found crystal methamphetamine and a stolen handgun in a safe at his Kihei residence was sentenced Wednesday to a 10-year prison term.
Mario Medina, 45, had agreed to the prison term as part of a plea agreement reducing the most serious charge he originally faced.
He told 2nd Circuit Judge Joel August that he wouldn't be back in court for similar crimes again.
"The only one that gets hurt is my family - my wife, my six kids," he said. "That's what I've learned from this."
Originally charged with first-degree methamphetamine trafficking, Medina had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, as well as possessing drug paraphernalia and first-degree theft.
He was arrested Sept. 23, 2009, when police searched the family's apartment on Kulanihakoi Street, according to court records.
Medina was the target of the police vice investigation after a confidential informant reported purchasing methamphetamine from Medina in his home, said Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones. She said police recovered more than 55 grams of methamphetamine as well as the stolen handgun in the residence.
While police reported that most of the drugs were found in a safe belonging to Medina's 20-year-old son, Daniel Medina, Jones said the methamphetamine in the father's safe appeared to be packaged for sale. She said the gun was found in Mario Medina's safe.
"He's a drug dealer with a gun," she said. "There's not much more dangerous activity than that in this community or any community."
Defense attorney Jon Apo said the gun was in Medina's safe because he had taken it away from his son.
"At the very least, he knew that his son was engaged in dealing and condoned it in his house," Apo said. "The whole reason he's in this and his son's in this is they were trying to make ends meet. Granted, it's very illegal."
Apo attributed Medina's drug use to the pressure he faced.
"He's a family man - that includes when he was a user," Apo said. "He's in poor health."
Apo said Medina has no prior criminal record. He spent more than two months in jail before posting $35,000 bail to be released while his case was pending.
During that time, "Mario did everything that someone who was confronted with wrongdoing could do in terms of trying to turn his life around and address the issues and do right," Apo said.
He said Medina had been working until July when he couldn't afford to pay union fees required to continue in his job.
A trial for Medina had started last year before he reached the plea agreement.
August said it was unusual that someone facing such serious charges has no prior record, has a history of employment and received letters of support from "responsible people within the community."
"If anything, I think it shows the terrible collateral damage which is caused by people's involvement with very powerful and very illegal drugs," August said. "In this particular case, it's the drug which has devastated not just this community but a number of communities across the United States."
Daniel Medina is awaiting trial on drug charges.
In a separate case, a 47-year-old man was recently sentenced to five years' probation for convictions for credit card theft and fraud in connection with an April 9 incident.
Anthony S. Norris, who has no local address, and a female co-defendant took a credit card and used it at various businesses last year.
Second Circuit Judge Richard Bissen credited Norris with the 62 days he already has served in jail.
Norris also had his probation revoked in a 2007 domestic abuse He was resentenced for that case to one year probation and ordered to attend domestic violence classes and pay court-ordered fees.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff Writer Melissa Tanji contributed to this report.