Maata facing fed charges for LAX to HNL drug deals
A drug defendant of Polynesian decent has been accused by federal prosecutors of using his airline credentials at the Los Angeles International Airport to bypass security check points to transfer drugs to Hawai’i.
Tulituafulu Tuli Maata has been charged with knowingly and intentionally possessing with intent to distribute 500 grams of methamphetamine, according to court documents.
According to an affidavit, federal agents were told by a FBI cooperating witness (CW) about Maata being the drug supply source for the CW between 2008 and 2010 and that Maata was an American Airlines’ employee at the LAX airport, where he worked as an aircraft fueler.
Maata, using his airline security access credential, hand-carried five to 10 pounds of methamphetamine on board American Airlines flights from LAX to Honolulu about once a month, the complaint alleges.
“Maata was able to pass through airport security check points as everyone else at LAX knew him,” the complaint further alleges, adding that the CW would pick up Maata at the Honolulu International Airport and the ice - and some times cocaine would be fronted - “that is sold on credit.”
CW explained that Maata would travel back to Hawai’i to pick up the money or would wait for the sale to be done.
However, it was sometime in 2010 that CW’s relationship with Maata deteriorated and the pair didn’t hook up again until two years later, when they started again to work out on a new drug deal, while being monitored by the FBI, the complaint alleges.
The 11-page complaint outlines dates and times when CW and Maata tried several times to hook up for a new drug deal which called for Maata to travel to Hawai’i with the drugs. The complaint also provides a look into the world of drug dealing and the language used when making a transaction using text messages or voice phone calls.
More details in Tuesday’s edition as well as an update from another major federal drug case involving three Samoan brothers - two of them arrested in Pago Pago two years ago.