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Bail raised to $150,000 for men caught with meth

Judge considers ‘extraordinary amount’ of drugs, past convictions

WAILUKU — Bail was increased to $150,000 each for two men who were arrested last week when police found nearly 1 pound of methamphetamine in a search of a vehicle they were in.

Lorden Cooper, 35, of Waiehu and Jamen Sugahara, 39, of Wailuku were charged with first-degree promoting a dangerous drug, possessing drug paraphernalia and promoting a controlled substance within 750 feet of a park.

Cooper also is charged with possessing a deadly weapon and second-degree theft.

The two were arrested April 16 when police vice narcotics officers executed warrants to search the vehicle that was parked in the lot at 1063 Lower Main St. in Wailuku.

Cooper, who was the target of the investigation, was driving the vehicle and Sugahara was a passenger, Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones said Monday during initial appearances for the defendants in Wailuku District Court.

In the search, police recovered 429.9 grams, or 0.95 pound, of methamphetamine, 2 grams of marijuana and $7,840 in cash, along with drug paraphernalia, Jones said.

She said both Cooper and Sugahara admitted to being involved in distributing drugs. “They were actively engaged in dealing drugs in our community,” Jones said. “As felons, they present a special danger to our community.”

Cooper told police he was the drug supplier and Sugahara was his runner, Jones said.

She said Sugahara admitted that he had obtained about 100 grams of methamphetamine found at his feet from Cooper to sell.

Another approximately 315 grams of methamphetamine was found at the feet of Cooper, who also had a knife, Jones said.

The vehicle was parked at the location because the two men were going to eat at a restaurant in the complex, which is within 750 feet of Papohaku Park, Jones said.

A 35-year-old Pukalani woman in the back seat also was arrested before being released pending further investigation.

Jones said Cooper had a Rolex watch, valued at about $12,000, which he said he knew was stolen and which he had obtained from another felon.

In 2008, Sugahara was sentenced to a 10-year prison term for second-degree robbery after violating his probation in the case, Jones said.

She said Cooper has a 2014 conviction for unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, which could result in a mandatory minimum prison term if he were convicted of first-degree promoting a dangerous drug. Cooper’s criminal history includes 19 convictions, three of them for felony offenses, Jones said.

In increasing bail for Sugahara, Judge Blaine Kobayashi said he was considering “the extraordinary amount of drugs that was found,” the location of the alleged offenses and the defendant’s criminal history.

“The court believes that the defendant is a danger to our community,” Kobayashi said.

Judge Kirstin Hamman similarly increased bail for Cooper.

Cooper and Sugahara were ordered to have no contact with each other.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.