At 27, Dae Han Moon is the youngest of the 12 co-defendants originally charged in the federal racketeering case.

Another co-defendant charged in the federal racketeering case against former Honolulu business owner Michael Miske Jr. appears poised to plead guilty as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

Dae Han Moon, 27, was named in a criminal information and charged with two felony offenses — being part of a murder-for-hire conspiracy and carrying a firearm in the course of a drug-related crime.

A criminal information does not require a grand jury indictment and typically signals that a formal written plea agreement will be filed as soon as a change of plea hearing can be scheduled.

Moon is the youngest of the 12 co-defendants originally charged in the Miske case and will be the eighth to plead guilty and begin cooperating with prosecutors.

Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control building with obscured signs at 940 Queen street.
Federal prosecutors say Michael Miske used Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control as the headquarters for his criminal enterprise. (Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020)

The original indictment, made public in July 2020 when Miske and other defendants were arrested, had charged Moon with three offenses.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors appear to have agreed to drop the two charges with the longest potential prison sentences — racketeering conspiracy with a maximum of 20 years and conspiracy to distribute illegal drugs, which calls for a 10-year minimum sentence if convicted. At the same time, they added a firearm offense that was not part of the Miske indictment.

If Moon proceeds with the plea deal as expected, he will face a sentence of not less than five years on the firearms offense and a maximum of 10 years for the murder-for-hire conspiracy.

He is already serving a state sentence of life with the possibility of parole, with a 15-year mandatory prison term, for the drug-related murder of Stevie Feliciano at Ala Moana Center on Christmas 2016. A jury found him guilty of three additional offenses, including one carrying a 20-year sentence, including the time served while awaiting trial in that case.

Moon attended Roosevelt High School until dropping out in the 11th grade, and by 2016 was distributing drugs under the apparent tutelage of Lance Bermudez, another of Miske’s co-defendants who has already pleaded guilty. 

The Murder-For-Hire Plot

Prosecutors allege Miske offered thousands of dollars to Moon and others to kill someone identified in court records only as “Victim-1,” who Miske believed was providing information to law enforcement. 

Victim-1 has been described as living in the same Waimanalo area where Miske had grown up, and had at one time been involved in drug dealing with Miske.

This murder-for-hire conspiracy charge appears as Count 7 in the original 22-count indictment of Miske and his co-defendants that was made public in July 2020.

Four men who allegedly took part in this murder-for-hire plot, in addition to Moon, have already pleaded guilty and admitted being part of the murder conspiracy, including Bermudez, Jacob “Jake” Smith, Wayne Miller and Harry Kauhi.

Key details of the murder-for-hire scheme have been revealed in their written plea agreements filed in federal court.

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Kauhi told prosecutors he was approached by Miller and asked to take a murder contract put out by Miske. Kauhi said he had accepted several thousand dollars as a down payment to do the job “but never took any action toward committing the murder.”

Miske then allegedly asked Smith to introduce him to Bermudez, who had gained a reputation as a “shooter.” The three met at the Kamehameha Shopping Center, where Miske said he would pay $60,000 to do a “home run” on Victim-1, a code word he used to refer to a murder. 

Bermudez agreed to take the job and met a couple of days later with John Stancil, Miske’s half-brother and a co-defendant in the case, who showed Bermudez where the intended victim lived.

“Bermudez then enlisted Dae Han Moon to assist and, on multiple occasions, laid in wait outside Victim-1’s home in the early morning hours waiting for Victim-1 to come outside,” according to the version of the story laid out in Bermudez’ plea agreement.  “Bermudez and Moon were armed with firearms and were prepared to shoot and kill Victim-I once he left the residence. However, Victim-1 never came outside while they were present.”

Bermudez told investigators that he was eventually “called off” and made no further attempts to commit this murder.

Moon can be convicted of the murder-for-hire conspiracy charge even thought Victim-1 was not killed. A criminal conspiracy exists when two or more defendants agree to commit an unlawful act, then take some action toward that end.

Even if the specific action they take is not illegal in itself, it can be used as evidence of the conspiracy. And the conspiracy is a separate crime, whether or not the intended crime was ever carried out.

The Firearm Offense

This charge was not included in the Miske indictment and stems from an incident in December 2016, when Moon was 20.

At about 1:30 a.m., police were called to the parking lot of the Kapiolani Bel Aire Condominium on Kaheka Street, where a group of men were gathered near a new white Toyota 4Runner that did not have license plates. 

As police arrived, Moon started the engine and attempted to reverse out of the parking lot onto Kaheka but hit one of the police cars, then struck a low rock wall. Moon ran from the car and fled across the street into the Don Quijote parking lot but was caught after a brief chase. Moon had $6,200 in his left front pocket when he was detained by police.

A loaded .40-caliber Smith and Wesson, double-action, semiautomatic pistol, was found on the driver’s seat of the 4Runner, apparently left behind when Moon made a run for it.

Dae Han Moon was convicted of a 2016 murder. He now appears poised to plead guilty to other charges as part of an agreement with prosecutors in the federal racketeering case against Mike Miske. (HPD)

Prosecutors allege Moon was at the scene as part of a broader conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine. The criminal information filed this week charges Moon with possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, an offense that carries a sentence of not less than five years in prison.

The 4Runner that Moon was driving was one of a pair stolen off the Young Brother’s pier in Honolulu while awaiting delivery to a Toyota dealer in Hilo. 

The second stolen 4Runner was driven by Bermudez three weeks later, after Moon fled the scene of the Christmas night shooting at Ala Moana Center. In the hours after the shooting, Bermudez threatened several witnesses, then fled. 

This 4Runner was later found abandoned on the grounds of Ohana Farms in Wahiawa, eventually leading to the arrest of Bermudez. A .22-caliber Beretta semiautomatic pistol was found in the rear cargo area when police searched the second vehicle. Testing confirmed both Moon and Bermudez had been in the vehicle. Moon’s DNA was found on the weapon, and the DNA of the Christmas shooting victim was found on the muzzle.

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About the Author

  • Ian Lind
    Ian Lind is an award-winning investigative reporter and columnist who has been blogging daily for more than 20 years. He has also worked as a newsletter publisher, public interest advocate and lobbyist for Common Cause in Hawaii, peace educator, and legislative staffer. Lind is a lifelong resident of the islands. Read his blog here. Opinions are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Civil Beat's views.