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Lahaina man who fled in stolen vehicle sentenced to prison

He had been awaiting sentencing when he committed new crimes

WAILUKU — A man who was awaiting sentencing when he committed new crimes was sentenced to five years in prison.

Justin Fonseca Swope, 29, of Lahaina had been released from jail in February 2020 after changing his pleas in a 2019 case.

At the time, he was supposed to be researching options for drug treatment, said 2nd Circuit Judge Kelsey Kawano.

“Instead, what happened — to everyone’s consternation — is you went on a crime spree, picking up four additional cases, all occurring within a week,” Kawano said in sentencing Fonseca Swope on July 15.

The new cases occurred in late March and early April 2020, when Fonseca Swope was seen driving stolen vehicles, including a Ford pickup that he drove while running a red light and speeding up to 80 mph on Maui Veterans Highway while fleeing from officers, according to police. Fonseca Swope was taken back into custody on April 3, 2020, according to court records.

In five criminal cases, he had pleaded no contest to four counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, first-degree resisting an order to stop a motor vehicle, attempted second-degree burglary, driving without a license and driving under the influence of drugs. Other charges were dismissed in exchange for his pleas.

“His behavior is reckless, it’s criminal and it’s dangerous,” Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones said. “We believe a prison sentence is warranted.”

Fonseca Swope had asked to be placed on probation after already spending more than a year in jail.

He had contacted programs and was committed to getting drug treatment, said Deputy Public Defender Heather Wolfenbarger.

She said Fonseca Swope, who is a Maui Drug Court graduate, had done well on probation before relapsing.

Judge Kawano sentenced Fonseca Swope to five-year prison terms, to be served at the same time, for his felony convictions. He was ordered to pay $4,933 in restitution.

Fonseca Swope also was resentenced to five-year prison terms for third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug in 2015 and 2017 cases.

He is serving all prison terms at the same time.

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

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