Police: Man said he planned to sell and smoke drugs
Judge keeps bail at $500K, calls quantity of drugs found ‘disturbing’
WAILUKU — A man told police he planned to both sell and smoke crystal methamphetamine after he was found with a parcel containing nearly 3 pounds of the drug in the Paia Post Office parking lot, a police officer testified Monday.
Michael Bascar, 59, reported he knew the parcel contained crystal methamphetamine, police vice officer Aasin Torricer said.
“He admitted that some of that crystal methamphetamine was for him and some of it was for a friend,” Torricer said during a preliminary hearing for Bascar in Wailuku District Court. “He mentioned he intended to sell some of the crystal methamphetamine and some of it was to smoke. He also mentioned that he typically sells approximately one ounce of crystal methamphetamine at a time and it usually takes around three days to sell.”
Bascar was arrested after police officers made contact with him the morning of June 14 in the post office parking lot, Torricer testified. He said there was a bench warrant for Bascar, who was sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle and had his hands on a parcel in his lap.
He refused to give consent for a search of the vehicle, Torricer said. He said a police K-9 dog alerted to the presence of illegal substances in the vehicle before it was impounded and police obtained a warrant to search it.
The search warrant was executed the next day.
In the sealed USPS parcel shipping box, which Bascar had placed on the center of the bench seat in the vehicle, police found nearly 3 pounds of crystal methamphetamine packaged in three clear plastic bags, each containing more than 447 grams of the drug, Torricer said.
Deputy Public Defender Ben Lowenthal questioned the charge alleging that Bascar intended to distribute drugs, saying there wasn’t evidence that he had taken a substantial step to distribute drugs.
Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones said the officer testified to the substantial step taken by Bascar in identifying a supply source and arranging to receive the drugs.
“The defendant’s statement was he has the clientele, he has the associate, he has the supply,” Jones said. “Those are all substantial steps in his plan to distribute the drugs.”
Judge Michelle Drewyer found there was probable cause to support charges of first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and attempted first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug.
Bascar also is charged with possessing drug paraphernalia.
The prosecution asked for bail to remain at $500,000 for Bascar, whose criminal record dates to 1986 and includes convictions for five counts of first-degree theft, second-degree theft and second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, Jones said.
Lowenthal asked for bail to be reduced for Bascar, saying he is a lifelong Haiku resident and in poor health. Both charges involve the same drugs, with one charge alleging possession and the other alleging attempted distribution, Lowenthal said.
“We understand the seriousness of this charge, but we would reiterate it is a nonviolent offense,” Lowenthal said.
“This is not a victimless crime,” she said. “The victims are all the families of all the people who are addicted to methamphetamine.”
If the 3 pounds of methamphetamine were sold in quantities of one-tenth of a gram, there would be 13,000 doses of the drug, she said. “He’s a supplier of that poison in the community,” Jones said.
Judge Drewyer kept bail at $500,000.
“Almost 3 pounds of methamphetamine is very disturbing,” she said. “I don’t think this is a victimless crime.”
Bascar agreed to appear by videoconference from the Maui Community Correctional Center for the hearing Monday.
He is set to be arraigned June 30 in 2nd Circuit Court.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at email@example.com.