Mar 9, 2022
WAILUKU — Most felony charges were upheld against a man arrested last month in an investigation into drug sales to minors in Lahaina, while the prosecution withdrew most charges against a woman who was arrested with him.
Keiundris McQuirter, 22, and Kamahie Baricuatro, 20, are set to be arraigned March 16 in 2nd Circuit Court.
After six days of testimony in a preliminary hearing that concluded Friday, Deputy Prosecutor Ronson Ibarra said evidence showed McQuirter was dealing drugs using a QR code and an online store with menu items of drugs. He said the listed drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, LSD tabs and psilocybin mushrooms, were among contraband seized at the residence in Honokowai that McQuirter shared with Baricuatro.
Sgt. Aaron Souza of the Crime Reduction Unit testified the investigation started Feb. 4 when he received information from Lahainaluna High school resource officer Marvin Tevaga about drug dealing using a QR code sticker.
Souza said he scanned the code, which took him to an instant messaging platform and he began communicating with someone who was later identified as McQuirter. By that evening, Souza said he had arranged to purchase narcotics through an online store listing drugs by weights and street names.
After a meeting was arranged in the parking lot at Lahaina Gateway shopping center off Keawe Street, McQuirter pulled up next to the car Souza was driving, he said. Souza said he got out, approached the passenger side of McQuirter’s vehicle and said hello to Baricuatro, who was in the passenger seat. Souza said he reached in with the money and got the marijuana and cocaine in a “hand-to-hand exchange” that lasted “no more than 15 seconds.”
After McQuirter posted a message saying he was going to shut down operations in the next couple of days, Souza said he sent a message asking about that, which led to McQuirter asking if Souza wanted to buy a half kilo of cocaine. Souza said he asked if McQuirter could send a photo showing the 8 to 9 ounces of cocaine to be purchased.
“That was the conversation leading up to the search warrant that we later executed,” Souza said.
On the afternoon of Feb. 8, when a second drug sale had been arranged, McQuirter and Baricuatro were on the beach in the area known as Cut Mountain off Honoapiilani Highway when officers arrived and detained the two and executed search warrants, Souza said.
In addition to the cocaine that was found packaged under the front passenger seat of McQuirter’s vehicle, police reported finding 28.62 pounds of marijuana, 15.4 grams of methamphetamine, 32 grams of cocaine, 333 doses of LSD, 29.7 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, 360 marijuana cigarettes, 44.47 grams of marijuana concentrate, 66 Alprazolam pills and a stolen unloaded .44-caliber revolver in a search of the unit in Honokowai where McQuirter and Baricuatro were living.
Most of the drugs were in an upstairs room of the unit, police said.
Lahaina patrol officer Kamaloni Vainikolu, who interviewed McQuirter a couple of days after he was arrested, testified the defendant admitted to using and selling the drugs that were seized. McQuirter said Baricuatro had been a customer before the two started dating in November, Vainikolu said.
He said McQuirter reported that Baricuatro doesn’t sell drugs but that “he gives her free weed.”
After McQuirter gave permission for police to search his phone, a data extract recovered photos of McQuirter and Baricuatro in the “drug room” where most of the contraband was seized, said Crime Reduction Unit officer Daron Sugiyama. He testified that the extracted data included screen captures of the app McQuirter used to communicate and the list of drugs for sale and prices.
Sugiyama said there were over 50 Venmo transactions with a notation indicating the payments were for drugs. He identified at least six juveniles, ranging in age from 14 to 16, who made such payments. Most payments were in the range of $20 to $40, but some were larger, Sugiyama said.
Souza testified that videos from Baricuatro’s phone showed her using marijuana to make butter, then using the butter to make rice crispy treats. Another video showed her holding a marijuana bud, Souza said.
Based on McQuirter’s statement that Baricuatro’s role was “free weed,” Ibarra said Friday the prosecution was withdrawing all but four of the 31 charges that she had been facing.
The prosecution withdrew four of the charges against McQuirter.
Another charge, alleging attempted distribution of Alprazolam, was dismissed when Judge Chris Dunn, who presided over the hearing in Lahaina District Court, convening in Wailuku, ruled there wasn’t probable cause to support the charge.
McQuirter is charged with four counts of attempted first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, two counts of first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, 10 counts of possessing drug paraphernalia, four counts of second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, second-degree promotion of a harmful drug, attempted first-degree promotion of a harmful drug, first-degree commercial promotion of marijuana, second-degree promotion of a detrimental drug, first-degree promotion of a harmful drug and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony drug offense.
He is being held in lieu of $300,000 bail at the Maui Community Correctional Center.
Baricuatro is charged with first-degree promotion of a harmful drug, first-degree commercial promotion of marijuana and two counts of possessing drug paraphernalia.
A $100,000 bail bond was posted for her release last month, court records show.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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