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Escalation from using to selling drugs leads to five years in prison

WAILUKU — A five-year prison term was ordered for a man who was on probation for drug possession when he was arrested for trying to sell drugs in Kahului last year.

“This was a substantial increase from possession and use to active dealing,” 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill said in sentencing Evan Laswell on Jan. 28.

In addition to attempting to sell methamphetamine, Las-well was charged with possessing one-eighth ounce or more of the drug, as well as 1 ounce or more of marijuana, heroin and 25 tablets or more of a prescription drug after he was arrested in the early-morning hours of Aug. 13 near Kahului Safeway on Hookele Street.

Police also seized $4,500 in cash.

Laswell, 28, who gave no local address, had pleaded no contest to third-degree promoting of a dangerous drug and possession of a deadly weapon in the commission of a crime. Other charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement calling for the five-year prison term.

“He’s graduated up to the big leagues, where if he’s caught selling methamphetamine again, it will be a 10-year prison sentence,” said Deputy Prosecutor Johann Smith.

He said Laswell would face an even longer prison term if the amount of methamphetamine is one-eighth ounce or more.

“He’s failed on probation pretty miserably in the past,” Smith said. “It’s only going to get worse if he does the same thing when he gets out.

“We hope he does something different, gets a job, finds another way to support himself.”

Laswell said he understood the sentence.

His probation was revoked for third-degree promoting of a dangerous drug and theft of a credit card in two other cases. He was resentenced to five-year prison terms to be served at the same time.

In another sentencing Jan. 28, a 33-year-old woman was placed on four years’ probation for assaulting her father.

Cecrett Harley was given credit for more than three months she had spent in jail. She was expected to be transferred to an Oahu jail so she could be released into a dual-diagnosis treatment program as part of her probation in an Oahu case, said Deputy Public Defender Zach Raidmae.

Harley pleaded no contest to second-degree assault.

She was arrested Nov. 23 after an argument with her 74-year-old father at his Kahului home “escalated and became violent,” Smith said.

He said Harley threw a picture frame that struck her father in his head, causing a laceration.

Raidmae said what happened was “solely a mental health episode.”

Judge Cahill ordered Harley not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to continue her mental health care.

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

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