Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS > 2007

Molokai man gets 6 months for illegal hunting

WAILUKU – Arrested while illegally hunting deer on private property this year, a Molokai man was sentenced Thursday to a six-month jail term for firearm offenses and drug possession.

Mariano T. Garces Jr., 44, of Kalamaula, was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs as part of his five years’ probation.

“I was wrong,” Garces said in court Thursday. “It won’t happen again.”

He was arrested April 1 following an investigation by a Molokai police officer who heard gunshots while on patrol in Maunaloa.

Police said Garces was hiding in tall grass with an unregistered bolt-action .338-caliber hunting rifle. While the rifle was unloaded, a spent cartridge was in the carriage and two spent cartridges were on the ground nearby, police said.

Garces gave police permission to search a sport utility vehicle, where police reported finding additional ammunition, another rifle and a smoking pipe containing methamphetamine residue.

While Garces has no prior felony convictions, Deputy Prosecutor Melinda Mendes said he has an extensive misdemeanor record, including an assault conviction that prohibited him from having firearms and ammunition.

He had pleaded no contest to two counts of prohibited possession of a firearm, prohibited possession of firearm ammunition, two counts of keeping a firearm in an improper place, keeping firearm ammunition in an improper place, third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, possessing drug paraphernalia, hunting on private lands, second-degree reckless endangering and not having a hunting license.

Garces didn’t have permission to be on the private property, which was near a Molokai Ranch restaurant and lodge, according to police.

Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza said that what Garces did “was dangerous and could have resulted in someone getting injured.”

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