Culture

Redwood City man’s arrest reveals secret Hawaii/California meth ring and alleged motive for social worker’s targeted killing


SAN FRANCISCO — A Bay Area man has been extradited to Hawaii to face charged that he shot and killed a social worker o the island of O’ahu over a dispute involving a significant amount of methamphetamine.

Filimone Tavake, 36, is due to appear in federal court Thursday to be arraigned on a murder charge in the March 2021 death of Malakai “Mo” Maumalanga. The crime shocked the local community of Aiea, where Maumalanga was killed, and revelations about the alleged motive only added fuel to the fire. Authorities claim Tavake killed Maumalanga over eight pounds of methamphetamine that were advanced to Maumalanga but never paid for and that Tavake warned him things were escalating to the “no talking part” before the shooting.

Media reports in Hawaii describe Maumalanga as a former gang member who spent 20 years counseling at-risk youth and working for nonprofits.

Tavake was arrested on March 22 in Redwood City, almost three years to the day after he allegedly shot and killed Maumalanga in a carport at Maumalanga’s apartment. Authorities allege the eight pounds of methamphetamine were found in Maumalanga’s apartment after the killing and that Tavake got on a plane to San Francisco the day after the shooting. Two guns were used to kill Maumalanga, police said.

In court papers, federal prosecutors have described Tavake as a drug dealer, alleging that they tracked his wire transfers from Hawaii to San Mateo and Redwood City totaling roughly $59,000 over three years, while also noting that he “deals primarily in cash.” They allege Tavake was linked to the homicide by evidence showing his phone linked to the suspects’ rental car and that Tavake and Maumalanga talked on the phone shortly before Maumalanga was killed.

Additionally, federal authorities say they did controlled undercover methamphetamine buys from Tavake in 2022, and spoke to a witness who told them Tavake “has individuals that are able to assist him in transporting drugs into Hawaii on airplanes.” Text messages between both men also indicate tensions were rising between them due to the unpaid debt.

“They’re gettin to the no talking part because you say one thing and it don’t meet deadline,” Tavake allegedly wrote in one message about three weeks before the killing, later adding, “There (sic) getting fed up with story.”

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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