Makawao man facing federal charges


The Maui News

A Makawao man who was arrested last year when police seized more than 400 suspected fentanyl pills is facing federal prosecution for allegedly selling the drug to a man who died after seeking treatment for a fentanyl overdose.

Jose Camacho, 30, has pleaded not guilty to distribution of fentanyl resulting in serious bodily injury, distribution of fentanyl resulting in death and possession with intent to distribute 40 or more grams of fentanyl.

Camacho was arraigned on the charges Sept. 2 in U.S. District Court in Honolulu after an indictment was handed down Aug. 19 by a federal grand jury, court records show.

After being held at the Maui Community Correctional Center in lieu of $250,000 bail following his arrest Oct. 2, Camacho was transferred to the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu.

State drug charges against him were dismissed without prejudice because the prosecution was adopted by the federal government, according to court records.

The federal indictment alleges that Camacho sold fentanyl on Aug. 27, 2020, and that serious bodily injury and death resulted from use of the drug. He is charged with selling fentanyl from Aug. 2 to Oct. 2, 2020, when police Crime Reduction Unit officers arrested him.

From Camacho and his residence, police reported seizing more than 400 blue “bootleg” pills that resembled oxycodone but were found to contain fentanyl, as well as methamphetamine and $1,165 in cash. Police were investigating Camacho after receiving information about people overdosing on the counterfeit pills.

At a preliminary hearing last year for Camacho, police confirmed the unattended death on Aug. 28, 2020, of a man who reportedly had bought pills from Camacho.

In federal court last week, Magistrate Judge Rom Trader ordered that Camacho continue to be detained pending trial, as the government requested.

The court order noted that Camacho could face a lengthy period of incarceration if convicted, has a history of alcohol or substance abuse and has significant family or other ties outside the United States.

Camacho “presents a serious risk of danger to the community,” according to the order.

It said the government represented that Camacho sold fentanyl to the other man on two consecutive days “even after being made aware that the decedent had been just released from the hospital after seeking treatment for a fentanyl overdose.”

After Camacho sold the additional fentanyl to the man, he was found dead the next morning, according to the government.

“The court finds that Defendant having done so demonstrates a callous disregard for the well-being of those to whom he chooses to sell fentanyl,” the order said. “In this Court’s view, such behavior puts the community at serious risk of harm should the Defendant continue to engage in such conduct if released.”

A Feb. 8 trial is set for Camacho.


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