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Woman sentenced to 18 months in jail for selling drugs

Early release is possible if she enters treatment

WAILUKU — A woman who admitted selling drugs when police arrested her was sentenced to an 18-month jail term and four years’ probation.

Catherine Gonzales, 31, of Wailuku, who has already spent about seven months in jail, could be released early if she enters a long-term residential drug treatment program.

If she successfully completes treatment, Gonzales could ask for the rest of her jail sentence to be suspended, said 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill at the June 18 sentencing.

“There’s a real strong incentive to not only getting well but doing well,” he said.

In two criminal cases, Gonzales had pleaded no contest to attempted second-degree promoting of a dangerous drug, second-degree promoting of a dangerous drug and promoting a controlled substance near a school.

She was arrested June 21, 2019, when police executed search warrants for her then-boyfriend Max Kurpe and his residence in Waiehu. After officers found drugs, Gonzales “admitted both of them were selling drugs,” said Deputy Prosecutor Annalisa Bernard Lee.

A few months later, on Oct. 10, when police executed another search warrant, Gonzales and Kurpe were found with methamphetamine and heroin, Bernard Lee said.

The arrest occurred near Lihikai Elementary School in Kahului, according to court records.

Gonzales is a graduate of the Maui Drug Court program of intensive treatment and supervision.

“So this is not her first rodeo,” Bernard Lee said. “She should have known better.”

Deputy Public Defender Zach Raidmae agreed.

“This isn’t her first rodeo,” he said. “She’s been bucked before. You got to try to get better.”

He said Gonzales relapsed about six months after she completed the Drug Court program and now was waiting for a space in a treatment program on Oahu. 

“She has a lifelong addiction problem that involves a combination of heroin and methamphetamine, which is a dangerous combination,” Raidmae said.

“I just hope for a second chance,” she said in court. “I learned a lot from Drug Court. I know what it takes to stay sober.”

Judge Cahill said that when Gonzales was questioned by police, “you were straight up and said, ‘Those are my drugs and we’re dealing.’ “

Her co-defendant also admitted the drugs were his but said they were for his own use, Cahill said.

He said Gonzales appeared to have a problem choosing male friends.

He recalled that Gonzales was the victim in a domestic violence case involving another former boyfriend.

When police responded, “both times you were sitting on the bed with the person involved in the case,” Cahill said. “In this case it was the drugs. In the other case, it was the kidnapping.”

Gonzales was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to stay away from people abusing drugs.

Cases are pending against co-defendant Kurpe.

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

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