WAILUKU - One of two Kihei brothers targeted in an investigation of prescription pill dealing at Kalama Park was ordered to turn himself in next month to serve a 45-day jail term.
"Drug dealers come in all sizes, shapes and ages," 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo said as she sentenced Frank Stone on Wednesday. "What stands before me is an 84-year-old pill pusher. That's exactly what you are.
"You took advantage of people's weakness by filling an illegal need. You were the supplier."
Stone and his brother Clarence Stone, 78, were among six people arrested in Operation Kill Pill, a three-month police Crime Reduction Unit undercover operation focusing on illegal distribution of prescription pills and other narcotics at the Kihei park.
Frank Stone had pleaded no contest to promoting a controlled substance in a park, with the prosecution dismissing other drug charges including first- and second-degree promotion of a harmful drug.
In court Wednesday, defense attorney Hayden Aluli argued for no jail for Stone, saying he had been caught up in a national epidemic of pharmaceutical drug addiction.
Stone also asked for a chance to keep the conviction off his record, with Aluli saying Stone has no prior criminal history. "I think the court can make the finding he is not likely to reoffend at his old age," Aluli said.
"It will never happen again," Stone said.
But Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones recommended the 45-day jail term, saying the prosecution had already taken into consideration Stone's age in reaching the plea agreement.
"He puts a face to the national epidemic of prescription drug abuse," Jones said. "He's the local epidemic.
"We believe that sentence is appropriate because of the conduct and the bold nature of his drug dealing."
Stone and his brother had insulated themselves by having a "middleman" to screen buyers in the illegal drug sales operation, she said. The middleman cooperated with police. "That's how the police got in," Jones said.
"This was not a back-alley, dark-at-night, weekend nightclub drug deal," she said. "This was on a Wednesday and 11 o'clock in the morning in the middle of the parking lot at Kalama Park."
On Sept. 14, 2011, the undercover officer met with Frank Stone, who was sitting in his van, Jones said. Stone pulled out a number of pills, spreading them on the floor and selling the officer 25 hydrocodone pills and 15 Soma pills.
Jones said a probation report indicated that Stone was in good health. "It begs the question - where did he get the pills?" Jones said.
As part of his sentence, Stone was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and was placed on four years' probation. He was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and not to enter Kalama Park, except for legitimate reasons and with the approval of his probation officer.
Loo denied Stone's request for a chance to keep the conviction off his record.
"At 84 years old, you know right from wrong," she told Stone. "You know better. What you were doing here was basically for profit and personal gain.
"Thank goodness for Operation Kill Pill," Loo said. "At least it took care of the problem - I hope permanently, at the very least temporarily."
Stone was ordered to turn himself in July 5 at the Maui Community Correctional Center to serve the jail term. He wore dark glasses in court after Aluli said Stone had cataract surgery on one eye last month and was scheduled for surgery on the other eye this month.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.