Another Halawa corrections officer arrested for drug charges

It’s been two weeks since a Halawa corrections officer was arrested by the FBI.

On Sunday, a second Halawa corrections officer was picked up by the feds at his work place.

“This morning around 11 a.m., FBI special agents, along with investigators from the Hawaii Department of Public safety office of internal affairs and the sheriff department, arrested Mark Damas,” Special Agent Tom Simon said.

According to court documents, investigators allege that Damas obtained methamphetamine from others outside of Halawa Correctional Facility and then was paid money to smuggle that meth into the prison, and thereafter distribute it to inmates.”

“Conspiracy to distribute is the actual crime he’s accused of,” Simon said.

Back in September, FBI agents got the green light from the court to tap Damas’ cell phone.

The court documents have verbatim reports of the conversations Damas had regarding drugs and contraband items, how he’d smuggle them into Halawa, and also money he’d be receiving.

“We really wanna get across to the public that the people who work at the Halawa Corrections Facility as adults corrections officers are extremely dedicated public servants. There’s just been a couple folks that we needed to investigate for allegations of corruption. We’re hoping that the courtroom procedures will actually bring out the truth about what they were up to,” Simon said.

Department of Public Safety Director Ted Sakai released a statement saying, “This latest arrest represents the ongoing investigative efforts to weed out corrupt employees in our prisons and to bring individuals who commit these crimes to justice, ensuring the safety in our prisons and the public.”

Just two weeks ago another Halawa corrections officer was arrested.

James Sanders III, 31, was charged with three counts of distributing meth and bribery.

Sanders pleaded not guilty to the charges in federal court.

If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.

The FBI won’t say if any other corrections officers are being investigated.

“We’re gonna follow the evidence where it takes us. We’d be kind of foolish to be presenting cases that haven’t been brought into court yet in the news, in an abundance of fairness, we’re gonna say this is an ongoing investigation obviously. Everyone’s concerned about any kind of corruption that might poison our corrections system here in Hawaii, and were gonna follow that evidence where it takes us,” Simon concluded.

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