Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen announced that Kea‘au man, 61 year-old Charles Zuffante, was sentenced to an indeterminate term of imprisonment of 20 years for attempted promotion of methamphetamine on Monday in Kona Circuit Court. After receiving the Court’s decision, Zuffante, who was found guilty by a Kona jury in February, was taken into custody to begin serving his sentence.
The case stemmed from a vehicle traffic stop by Officers Charles Caldwell-Ka‘ai and Devon Manuel on October 21, 2021, near the intersection of Keanalehu Drive and Manawalea Street in Kona. Upon Zuffante’s arrest, officers located a Ziploc packet containing 3.5 grams of methamphetamine in Zuffante’s pocket. The vehicle was towed to the police station, where Area II Vice Officer Justin Gaspar took over the investigation. Officers recovered, methamphetamine packaged in distributable amounts, specifically ten Ziploc packets each containing 3.5 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine and five Ziploc packets each containing 14 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine. Zuffante was originally charged via grand jury indictment in April of 2022.
The case was initiated by Officers Charles Caldwell-Ka‘ai and Devon Manuel, Kona Patrol, and the felony investigation was handled by Officer Justin Gaspar, Area II Vice Section, Hawai‘i Police Department.
“This outcome would not have been possible without the dedication of these officers. Today’s sentencing demonstrates our Office’s commitment to hold drug dealers accountable for poisoning our community,” said Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen. “We will continue to prioritize the prosecution and investigation of those who distribute dangerous drugs including methamphetamine, fentanyl, and heroin.”
The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney remains dedicated to the pursuit of justice with integrity and commitment. Anyone having information concerning illegal narcotics distribution should call the Hawai‘i Police Department Vice Section in East Hawai‘i at (808) 934-8423 or in West Hawai‘i at (808) 329-0423, or Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.