Drew Allen Ward is described by authorities as a major mainland drug supplier.

A Washington man with ties to Maui is behind bars for allegedly sending some 480 grams of fentanyl to Hawaii.

Maui

That’s just over a pound of the powerful synthetic opioid that is responsible for most of the drug overdoses happening in Hawaii. Just a granule or two — about 2 milligrams — is enough to kill, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Federal authorities took Drew Allen Ward, 41, of Edgewood, Washington, into custody on May 9, according to federal court papers. He has been appointed a public defender. The former Maui resident has 11 prior convictions, including five felony drug convictions in Hawaii, according to the FBI.

A screenshot of Drew Allen Ward’s Facebook page, contained in the FBI affidavit.

Ward is considered “the mainland distributor of large quantities of controlled substances in Maui,” according to a recently unsealed FBI affidavit.

Andy Kennedy, Ward’s public defender, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

A confidential informant told the FBI that Ward typically sent drugs to Maui via the U.S. Postal Service, arranging the transactions over Signal, a messaging app that uses end-to-end encryption.

On Dec. 14, the informant told authorities that Ward was planning to send a package containing “two white,” meaning two 10-ounce packages of fentanyl, known by the street name “white.” The drugs had an estimated street value of $20,000.

A FedEx driver dropped off a package at a residence on Old Haleakala Highway on Dec. 15. Soon after, a woman stepped outside the home and retrieved the package. The informant, along with vice officers from the Maui Police Department and FBI agents, descended onto the home and took hold of the package.

Agents sent it to the Drug Enforcement Agency for lab analysis and confirmed the drugs inside were fentanyl.

Authorities told the informant to contact Ward to confirm information about the package that only he would know. They also tracked who had checked on the package’s delivery status and connected it to an IP address associated with a computer at Ward’s Edgewood home. And they tracked a direct deposit from the drug transaction — cash provided by law enforcement — to a bank account in Ward’s name.

After getting paid, Ward told the informant that he had heroin ready to be sent to Maui. Again working with law enforcement, the informant told Ward where to send it. On Jan. 31, investigators checked a post office box in Wailuku where Ward was told to send the drugs. A search of the package resulted in the seizure of nearly 82 grams of suspected heroin.

Investigators packaged $1,300 into a flat-rate box and sent it to Ward’s home where he retrieved it, according to court papers.

A detention and status hearing is set for 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. No dates for an initial appearance or preliminary hearing in Hawaii have been set.

If he is indicted and convicted of the one charge in the complaint, Ward faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment with a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison, along with fines, said Elliot Enoki, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Honolulu, by email.

Enoki noted that Ward is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Prosecutors have asked that Ward be held without bail. They requested that the criminal complaint be unsealed, a motion that was granted.

Hawaii experienced a record number of drug overdose deaths in 2022. Some 320 people died from overdosing last year, up from 305 in 2021 and 266 in 2020, according to Gary Yabuta, executive director of Hawaii High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. Yabuta cited data from medical examiners and coroners.

Read the criminal complaint below.

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by grants from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation.

Support Civil Beat during the season of giving.

As a small nonprofit newsroom, our mission is powered by readers like you. But did you know that less than 1% of readers donate to Civil Beat?

Give today and support local journalism that helps to inform, empower and connect.

About the Author