Man facing drug charges released on supervision

The Maui News

WAILUKU — A man who said he needed regular medical treatment was released on supervision Wednesday, following his arrest in two felony drug cases.

Bert Ballao, 58, of Kahului was ordered to provide proof of his treatment schedule when he appears for a bail hearing Tuesday in 2nd Circuit Court.

In his two cases, he has pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, two counts of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and three counts of possessing drug paraphernalia.

Ballao was indicted on the charges after he was found with methamphetamine on April 7 and June 15, according to court records. In his April 7 arrest, he also was charged with possessing heroin and attempted distribution of methamphetamine.

Deputy Prosecutor Joanne Hicks opposed Ballao’s request to be released, saying the $500,000 bail was appropriate in one case.

“The state feels he’s a very great danger to the community,” she said. “He is a drug dealer who has been very active recently.”

If convicted, Ballao could face mandatory prison terms as a repeat offender, Hicks said.

She said Ballao also could face additional drug charges that are being reviewed by the prosecutor’s office.

In a 2006 drug case, Ballao was sentenced to a 10-year prison term with a mandatory minimum term of three years and four months, Hicks said.

“This did not deter him from continuing to distribute drugs in our community,” she said.

Second Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo said that while she would normally maintain bail in such a case, she was concerned about his medical treatment needs and schedule.

“I’m going to give you the opportunity because I know how important it is,” she said.


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