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10-year prison term for ‘large quantity’ of drugs

Suspect pleads no contest to reduced charge of promoting a dangerous drug in the second degree

FRANCIS MADDELA – Off to prison on drug charge

WAILUKU — A man who admitted he had been selling drugs when police found him with 3.4 pounds of crystal methamphetamine was sentenced Thursday to a 10-year prison term.

Francis Kawika Maddela, 32, pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of second-degree promoting of a dangerous drug.

Charges of possessing drug paraphernalia and promoting a controlled substance near a school were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Maddela was the subject of a Crime Reduction Unit narcotics investigation that “led to the removal of a large quantity of methamphetamine from the streets,” said Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones.

Police reported finding the drugs and $1,540 in cash in a backpack between Maddela’s legs when officers made a traffic stop on a white Chevrolet sedan that was pulled up to a Hele gas station pump in Kahului the night of Sept. 23.

The gas station is within 750 feet of four preschools — Christ The King Preschool, Maui Adventist School, Kahului Hongwanji Preschool and Kahului Baptist Preschool, police said.

Maddela “admitted to the police that he was engaged in the possession and distribution of methamphetamine for financial gain,” Jones said.

“He’s paying the price for that with the punishment of a prison sentence,” she said.

Defense attorney Jon Apo said Maddela was homeless at the time.

Apo said, “Most if not all, of the people involved in trafficking are doing it to support their habit.”

While Maddela insisted on his innocence shortly after his arrest, that has changed, Apo said.

“He acknowledges that he was poisoning the community as a result of what he was doing,” Apo said. “I’m proud of him for having that attitude at this point. I commend Kawika for the progress that he’s made.

“I have a lot of faith he’s going to succeed in his rehabilitation process after his prison sentence.”

Second Circuit Judge Kelsey Kawano followed the plea agreement between the prosecution and defense in sentencing Maddela to the 10-year term.

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

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