Honolulu man charged with robberies, use of firearm during robbery, and carjacking
News Release from US DoJ, January 21, 2020
HONOLULU, Hawaii – Kenji M. Price, U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii, announced that Moahengi Pakileata, 19, of Honolulu, Hawaii, made his initial appearance in federal court today after a criminal complaint filed on Friday, January 17, 2020, charged him with two robberies that interfered with commerce, the use a firearm during of one of the robberies, and a carjacking. A federal magistrate judge ordered him detained pending a detention hearing on January 24.
According to the criminal complaint, Pakileata and a second unidentified male robbed a 7-Eleven convenience store at gunpoint on August 11, 2019, and Pakileata robbed a second 7-Eleven convenience store on January 12, 2020. The criminal complaint further alleges that in the evening after the second robbery, on January 13, 2020, Pakileata committed a carjacking. As alleged, Pakileata, while wearing a security guard uniform, brandished a knife to take the vehicle of a student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
The charges in the complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The robbery and carjacking charges carry maximum terms of 20 and 15 years imprisonment, respectively, and maximum fines of $250,000 each. The firearm charge carries a seven-year mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, which must run consecutively to any other sentence imposed.
The case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Honolulu Police Department (HPD). Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Van Demark is handling the prosecution.
This prosecution is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of its renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws.
Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the ATF when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.
The United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted this case with support from the following Project Guardian partners: the ATF, the HPD, and the City and County of Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney.
For more information about Project Guardian, please see >>> LINK