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Pot, unloaded rifle found during police stop at TMT protest

Driver gets chance to keep charge off permanent record

The Maui News

WAILUKU — A driver who was arrested when police found a rifle, ammunition and marijuana in his vehicle during a Thirty Meter Telescope protest last year was given a chance to keep convictions off his record if he follows court requirements for six months.

Nohea Hoopii, 20, of Waikapu was arrested shortly before 6 p.m. July 22 while police were monitoring protesters on Honoapiilani Highway near Kaanapali Parkway.

Deputy Public Defender Zach Raidmae said an officer stopped Hoopii’s sport utility vehicle because he estimated it was traveling about 5 mph. Rounds of ammunition were found in the center console.

Also found were a couple of deer-hunting rifles and brass knuckles, which Hoopii had forgotten were in the vehicle, Raidmae said. He said the guns were unloaded and in cases.

Police also reported finding 40.79 grams of marijuana.

In court Feb. 27, Hoopii said he had been sighting his cousin’s rifle and was taking it back to him when he was stopped at the protest.

“I was just passing by,” he said. “I had a flag on the back of the car. I was passing by to support, but everybody was on the road.”

Hoopii pleaded no contest to keeping ammunition in an improper place, possession of butterfly knives, deadly weapons prohibited and second-degree promotion of a detrimental drug. A charge of prohibited possession of a firearm was dismissed in a plea agreement.

Second Circuit Judge Peter Cahill sentenced Hoopii, who has no prior criminal record.

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