State roundup for January 13


Man guilty of meth trafficking

HONOLULU (AP) — A federal court jury has found a Kapolei man guilty of methamphetamine trafficking.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Hawaii says Ernesto Hernandez was convicted Friday.

He faces up to life in prison, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, when he’s sentenced on April 28.

Prosecutors say Hernandez agreed with others to distribute meth that was sent from California via Federal Express.

Prosecutors say he arranged the shipment of 213 grams of meth. Federal Express security intercepted the package at Honolulu airport.

Defense attorney Thomas Otake declined to comment on the verdict.

Firms sue over anti-GMO law

LIHUE, Kauai (AP) — Three biotechnology companies are suing to block Kauai County from implementing a law that would require large farms to disclose the use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms.

Syngenta, Pioneer Hi-Bred and Agrigenetics filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Friday.

The suit argues that the law irrationally prohibits the companies from growing any crop in arbitrarily drawn buffer zones, and restricts the companies’ pesticide use within the buffer zones.

The suit also contends that the disclosure requirements would expose the companies to risks of “corporate espionage, vandalism and environmental terrorism.”

Proponents of the new law said the lawsuit has no merit.

Destructive beetles found

HONOLULU (AP) — Another invasive pest has been found on Oahu.

The state Department of Agriculture said Thursday destructive beetles that damage coconut trees and other palm plants were found at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam last month. Samples were sent to a federal lab in Miami, where it was confirmed to be the coconut rhinoceros beetle. State officials have been working with the military and the University of Hawaii to trap the beetles.

It’s not known how the beetles arrived.

Predators of the beetle include pigs, rats and ants. A fungus and a virus that can kill the beetles are not known to occur in Hawaii.

The Dec. 23 discovery of the beetle was the same day officials found an invasive ant species on Maui.

 

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