(Tribune News Service) – A Waikiki man arrested and found with “ghost guns” and ammunition has been charged by federal prosecutors with drug and gun crimes after he allegedly sold a fatal load of cocaine to an active-duty Marine, who overdosed and died on January 23.
A Waikiki man arrested and found with “ghost guns” and ammunition has been charged by federal prosecutors with drug and gun crimes after he allegedly sold a deadly load of cocaine to an active-duty Marine who, on Jan. 23, shot a overdosed and died.
The criminal complaint filed Monday against Rayshaun “Nova” Ducos, 25, included one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and another of possession of a firearm to further a drug trafficking crime.
He appeared in federal court for the first time on Tuesday and is scheduled to appear in custody before US Judge Rom A. Trader at 10 a.m. Friday. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for February 14 at 10 a.m.
On January 23, Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents went to a home on Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe in response to a call about a man who may have overdosed. The victim, an active-duty Marine, was taken to Adventist Health Castle Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:09 a.m., according to the federal complaint.
Lt. Col. Kurt Stahl of Communication Strategy and Operations for the 3rd Marine Division told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the Marine who “tragically passed away in the morning hours of January 23,” Cpl. Adell Anderson, a Hawaii-based Marine within the division. “Our deepest condolences go out to the friends and family of the Navy as we mourn this terrible loss,” Stahl said in a statement.
The number of fatal drug poisonings among Hawaii residents rose each year from 149 in 2012 to 269 in 2020, before falling to 234 in 2021, according to the Department of Health.
According to Stahl, Marine Corps Base Hawaii has a Substance Abuse Counseling Center for active duty personnel, adult family members, reservists and civilian employees. After screening and assessment, diagnoses and treatment or program recommendations from SACC are confirmed by a Navy Medical Officer.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Naval Criminal Investigative Service are investigating Ducos and others “identified and unidentified persons, regarding distribution and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and other controlled substances, and conspiracy,” states in the complaint.
Ducos’ attorney, Assistant Federal Defense Attorney Melinda K. Yamaga, did not immediately respond to a request from Star-Advertiser for comment. Assistant US Attorney Sara D. Ayabe declined to comment.
On the day of the fatal overdose, a witness told investigators that Anderson bought cocaine from a person in Waikiki nicknamed “Nova” in the hours before his death. On the night he died, Anderson “snorted two to three lines,” the witness said.
The witness said he knew the name “Nova” because on previous occasions Anderson had bought cocaine from him near an address on Ala Wai Boulevard. The witness unlocked the victim’s phone using “Nova’s” contact information for investigators, who found calls, messages, and Cash App transactions on Jan. 22.
NCIS and DEA agents also found messages from “an active NCIS confidential source” discussing alleged drug dealings with the victim the night he bought the cocaine that killed him. The confidential source identified “Nova” as a “cocaine supply source for herself and the victim.”
The confidential source is not facing any federal charges, and any future charges arising out of NCIS’s investigation will be conducted through the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to a footnote to the criminal complaint.
Any Marine who “uses, owns, manufactures, distributes, imports” or introduces illegal drugs into a military installation or property is subject to a court-martial and could be involuntarily removed from duty, according to the UCMJ.
On January 21, the confidential source told investigators that he had taken a ride to an address on Launiu Street, where “Nova” allegedly arrived in an orange Mitsubishi. The source said he got in the car and bought cocaine.
At approximately 7:35 am on January 30, DEA agents “in police badges and ballistic vests” went to Ducos’ home on Ala Wai Boulevard with a search warrant. After knocking with no response, agents entered the apartment and reportedly found Ducos “lying on the floor, his feet in the bathroom and the rest of him in the hallway,” according to the complaint.
After his arrest, agents allegedly found a plastic container of cocaine in the bathtub. According to an affidavit from a DEA agent, as soon as the agents “knocked and announced their presence,” Ducos attempted to flush the cocaine down the toilet.
Investigators said a woman in the unit told them she wasn’t living with Ducos and that she knew he was selling cocaine.
A search of Ducos’ home allegedly found “a large, unspecified amount” of cash in a bedside table by the bed. According to the complaint, scales with white powder residue and plastic bags were found in a dresser next to the bed.
According to the complaint, federal agents seized a short-barreled rifle with a drum magazine that was disassembled into two separate pieces. This rifle had no serial number. Agents also found several types of ammunition, including rifle cartridges.
Agents said they also confiscated a “ghost gun” pistol with a loaded magazine from the bedroom closet and a small plastic bag of white powder from the living room. According to the complaint, all of the white powder in Duco’s apartment tested positive for cocaine.
On July 15, 2020, Ducos filed a lawsuit against the housing association of the owners of his Waikiki condominium complex and an individual owner, alleging that the owner attempted to restrain him in an elevator. He also claimed the owner accused him of being a drug dealer, the civil lawsuit filed in state court said.
“The intentionally false testimonies were defamatory, intended to expose the plaintiff to hatred, contempt, ridicule and slander, and did,” part of the lawsuit reads.
A judge granted Ducos an injunction against the owner, but the lawsuit was dismissed, according to state court records.
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