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Grandmother selling drugs near library gets break

Guilty plea and application to drug treatment keeps felony off record

WAILUKU — A woman who was arrested last month after police responded to community concerns about homeless drug-dealing activity near Kahului Public Library has been given a chance to keep a felony drug conviction off her record.

Sonia Davis, 62, was sentenced Tuesday when she pleaded guilty to second-degree promoting of a dangerous drug.

“I know what I did was terribly wrong,” Davis said in court. “I know I need help.”

Second Circuit Judge Kelsey Kawano followed a plea agreement in placing Davis on four years’ probation and suspending an 18-month jail term.

Attorneys said the plea agreement was reached after Davis took steps, including applying to and being accepted into a residential drug treatment program, to show she wanted to address her drug addiction.

“You’re not the typical drug pusher that comes through this court,” Kawano said in sentencing Davis.

As matriarch of the family, “you need to stay alive, stay healthy to be a leading example to them,” he told her.

“You’re very, very important for your family to have somebody to look up to, to have somebody they can follow as an example so they can be good, upright and law-abiding citizens.”

Davis was arrested Dec. 11 when community policing and Crime Reduction Unit officers went to the library based on a community complaint to Mayor Michael Victorino’s office about homeless drug-dealing activity in the area of the library, said Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones.

She said Davis had 13 packets containing methamphetamine in amounts ranging from 0.2 to 0.39 grams. The bags sell for $20 to $40 on the street, Jones said.

She said the total weight of the drugs was 3.81 grams or more than one-eighth ounce.

“She was living in her vehicle in an area where there were homeless people who use drugs,” Jones said. “It’s a vicious cycle of people using drugs there and living homeless, unable to get out of that lifestyle because of the choices they’re making based on the availability of drugs by people like Ms. Davis.”

Davis’ daughter and two granddaughters also were living in the area, Jones said.

“Her changing her life will set a good positive example for her family, and she will be in a position to assist them in making the transition out of that lifestyle,” Jones said.

She said it was the first felony offense and first drug crime for Davis.

“She does, by her own admission, have a fairly lengthy use of the drug, but she doesn’t have any convictions,” said Davis’ attorney, Damir Kouliev. “She’s getting to the point, with her age and health conditions, she really needs to stop using this dangerous and harmful drug.

“She has great grandkids that she would love to see grow, and she would really like to set an example for her children and her grandchildren, as well as to be the matriarch and to be the shining example of someone that can overcome that.”

Kawano granted Davis’ request for a conditional discharge so she wouldn’t have the felony conviction on her record if she complies with court requirements.

She was ordered to stay away from Kahului Public Library and to not consume alcohol or illegal drugs.

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