Kalaupapa resident Norbert Palea received a five-year prison term in court yesterday, which was the mandatory minimum for his crime.
Palea, 69, was arrested in February of last year when federal agents searched a box he was shipping to Molokai and found 18 grams of methamphetamine. He was also stopped the previous November at the Honolulu Airport with nine plastic bags containing methamphetamines. At the time of his arrest, Palea told authorities the drugs were meant for workers at Kalaupapa, not for any patient.
Palea pled guilty Aug. 5, 2010 to two charges of possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine. After handing out the five-year sentence, U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright also sentenced Palea to four years of supervised release after he completes his prison term, subjecting him to unannounced searches of his home.
Because of Palea’s age and health, federal prosecutor Thomas Muehleck said he did not recommend a longer prison sentence. Palea is undergoing treatment for cancer. He also said he did not ask for a sentence shorter than the mandatory minimum because Palea has a previous state drug conviction involving methamphetamine.
Palea has lived in Kalaupapa since he was 6 years old. He now has until June to begin serving his sentence.
Click this link to see the original story about Palea’s arrest.