Repeat drug offender receives life sentence without parole

AP File Photo

A 52-year-old Honolulu man will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Gilbert Lee Medina was sentenced to life in prison in federal court Thursday for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

There is no parole under current federal criminal law.

Medina’s two prior drug felony convictions in California made imposition of the life sentence mandatory. A jury found Medina guilty of the conspiracy in December 2015, and also found him guilty of unlawfully possessing a firearm and attempting to enter a secure area of the Honolulu International Airport by fraud or false pretenses.

According to the evidence presented at trial, Medina was at the center of a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy that spanned at least 12 months from April 2012 to April 2013, and was responsible for well over 20 pounds of methamphetamine being brought from California to Hawaii. Medina received the large quantity of methamphetamine from several different sources and was responsible for distributing the methamphetamine to other members of the conspiracy in Hawaii.

The evidence presented at trial also established that Medina unlawfully possessed a firearm on his boat docked at the Ala Wai harbor.

Evidence produced in court established that Medina attempted to use a false identification at the Honolulu International Airport in an effort to flee from Hawaii in May 2013, which led to the additional criminal offense for attempting to enter the secured area of the airport by presenting the false identification. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials did not permit Medina to get past the security, and ultimately he was arrested.

Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said, “This sentence is a stern warning that those individuals who repeatedly participate in drug trafficking risk being severely punished for their criminal conduct.”

Michael Carney, Acting Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Honolulu, said, “The sentence in this case is fitting of the serious crimes committed by the defendant, and HSI along with its federal, state and local law enforcement partners are committed to combatting the serious threat methamphetamine presents to the well-being of our communities.”

The investigation which resulted in the charges in the case was conducted by HSI, with assistance from the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. TSA at Honolulu International Airport also contributed significantly to the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony R. Roberts handled the prosecution.

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