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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Twelve indicted in alleged heroin ring

By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer

A federal indictment that was unsealed yesterday names 12 suspects in a California-Hawai'i heroin trafficking ring.

The indictment follows the Dec. 1 bust of a drug transaction in a McCully parking lot that resulted in the seizure of 3 pounds of black-tar heroin and $75,300 in cash.

U.S. Attorney Florence Nakakuni said in a news release that Albert Fernandez Jr., 54, and Arthur "Raven" Miniear, 49, "acted as principal heroin distributors" in the alleged drug ring.

The indictment alleges the source of the heroin was California resident Anthony Howard Ransom, 43, also known as Anthony Paul King, who was arrested in Redondo Beach this month and is scheduled to appear in court here today.

Named as "sub-distributors" were: Brian Tanaka, 55; John Uemura, 54; Patrick Souza, 49; Mark Denis, 48; Craig Paterson, 58; and Tristan Alexander, 40.

Also charged in the indictment was Rita Vanden Berghe, also known as Rita Vanderberghe, 52.

Another defendant, Diane Kila, 56, is alleged to have stored drug money at her house and "kept an accounting" of the cash, the indictment said.

Another defendant in the case, Todd Kirwan, acted as drug delivery man, according to the indictment.

The conspiracy allegedly operated from at least early November to early December last year, according to authorities.

Conspiring to distribute heroin is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Charges related to the attempted transfer of 3 pounds of the illegal drug carry a possible life sentence in federal prison.

Alleged ringleader Fernandez also is charged with lying to an FBI agent during a Dec. 3 interview about conversations with an unidentified co-conspirator.