3 accused of operating pot farm in Kona
By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A Kona grand jury last week returned indictments against two men and a woman for allegedly operating a marijuana farm in South Kona.
Two separate six-count indictments dated May 13 charge 55-year-old Joseph Wayne Balsimo and 49-year-old Kathryn Balsimo of Captain Cook with first- and second-degree commercial promotion of marijuana, first-degree promotion of a harmful drug and three counts of possession of drug paraphernalia.
Another Captain Cook man, 21-year-old Christian S. Kidd, is charged in a five-count indictment with first-degree commercial promotion of marijuana, second-degree promotion of a detrimental drug, third-degree promotion of a harmful drug and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia.
On Oct. 21, 2011, police executed a search warrant on a Luana Place property in Honaunau. According to a police spokeswoman, officers allegedly found and seized 361 plants ranging in size from seedlings to 3-feet in height growing outside, plus more than a quarter-pound of dried marijuana, a little more than two ounces of hashish and various items of drug paraphernalia.
Bench warrants issued following the indictments set bail for the Balsimos at $28,000 each. Kidd’s bail was set at $16,000. Conditions of bail include no alcohol or drugs, plus random drug and alcohol testing for all three defendants.
First-degree commercial promotion of marijuana and first-degree promotion of a harmful drug are both Class A felonies punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment. Second-degree commercial promotion of marijuana is a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Third-degree promotion of a harmful drug and possession of drug paraphernalia are both Class C felonies punishable by up to five years imprisonment.
A search of court records turned up no prior criminal convictions in Hawaii for any of the suspects.
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