Michael J. Miske Jr. is a 46-year-old man charged in the 2016 kidnapping and murder of 21-year-old Jonathan Fraser. The District of Hawaii U.S. Attorney’s Office announced on July 15 it has charged 11 defendants in federal court, including Miske, on racketeering and other charges.
Eight of the defendants were arrested July 15, including Miske, according to an indictment unsealed by the ATF, IRS, FBI and other agencies. One remains at large and two were already in state custody, according to the Department of Justice news release. Miske and the defendants are charged with racketeering conspiracy and other offenses involving what the U.S. Attorney referred to as the “Miske Enterprise.”
Miske faces 22 charges, three of which could carry the death penalty.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The U.S. Attorney’s Office Has Accused Miske of a Murder-for-Hire Plot
The indictment names Miske, John Stancil, Kaulana Freitas, Lance Bermudez, Dae Han Moon, Preston Kimoto, Harry Kuahi, Norman Akau III, Hunter Wilson and Jarrin Young.
In a news release, the U.S. Attorney’s office described the “Miske Enterprise” as a racketeering enterprise:
The racketeering activity included acts involving murder, kidnapping, arson, and robbery. It also included acts relating to murder-for-hire, chemical weapons, extortionate credit transactions, racketeering, interference with commerce through robbery and extortion, drug trafficking, wire fraud, fraud in connection with identification documents, financial institution fraud, the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, money laundering, and obstruction of justice.
The news release stated that Miske conspired to kidnap and murder Fraser, who was last seen at his apartment before he disappeared, according to an FBI poster. Miske is accused of directing a co-conspirator to develop a plan and price to kidnap and murder Fraser and buying a Boston Whaler vessel used to dump Fraser’s body in the ocean. Another co-conspirator took Fraser’s significant other on a “spa day” to ensure Fraser would be alone, the news release says.
Some of the others named in the indictment — Stancil, Bermudez, Kuahi and Akau — are accused of robbing a person of methamphetamine at gunpoint, and Bermudez and Wilson were accused of another robbery of “controlled substances” at gunpoint. Miske, Stancil and Freitas are also accused of releasing a chemical weapon named chloropicrin into two different nightclubs in Honolulu. Others named in the indictment were accused of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, including methamphetamine, cocaine, oxycodone and marijuana. Miske is also accused of defrauding the Bank of Hawaii by using false documents on loan applications.
Miske could face the death penalty if convicted of all 17 counts he faces.
2. Miske, aka “Bro,” Is a Well-Known Businessman
Miske owns Kamaaina Termite and Pest Solution and Kamaaina Plumbing and Renovations and used to own the M Nightclub of Honolulu, which closed in November 2016. He has several other companies registered under addresses that he owns.
According to the Honolulu Civil Beat, Miske was convicted in the 1990s of felonies including theft, kidnapping, assault and fraudulent use of a credit card.
In January 2013, Miske was accused of hitting an NFL player in the head with a champagne bottle at the M Nightclub. Miske was charged with second-degree assault, but the charges were dropped because the player did not return to Hawaii for the trial. According to KITV-4 reporter TJ Horgan, that player was 49ers tackle Trent Williams.
The indictment accuses Miske of using his Kamaaina Termite as “headquarters” for criminal activities.
3. Miske Sued Fraser Following a Car Accident From Which Miske’s Son Died
Fraser was close friends with Miske’s son, Caleb-Jorden Miske-Lee, according to Civil Beat. Miske-Lee and Fraser were involved in a car accident in November 2015, and several months later, on March 12, 2016, Miske-Lee died of his injuries. Miske sued Fraser, along with the driver of the other vehicle and the company that owned the vehicle.
Although the lawsuit alleges that Fraser was driving the car and Miske-Lee was in the passenger seat at the time of the collision, an autopsy stated that Miske-Lee was found pinned in the driver’s seat wearing a seat belt, Civil Beat reported.
Fraser disappeared three months after Miske-Lee died from his injuries.
The indictment accuses Miske of hiring people to kidnap Fraser from his car, kill him and dispose of his body using a boat purchased specifically for that purpose; he is also accused of having an associate take Fraser’s significant other to a spa to ensure Fraser would be alone.
4. Miske & Others Are Accused of Releasing Chloropicrin Into His Nightclubs
Miske is also charged with two counts of use of a chemical weapon, which carry the maximum sentence of life in prison, according to the indictment. Miske is accused of using chloropicrin, which is used as a riot control chemical agent, in two of his nightclubs along with co-defendants John Stancil, also facing two counts, and Kaulana Freitas, who is facing one count, local news station KHON-2 reported.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chloropicrin causes irritation of the eyes, airways and skin; irritation leading to coughing, choking and shortness of breath; nausea and vomiting; headache; dizziness, anxiety and fatigue; and other symptoms.
Among other things, members and associates of the Miske Enterprise committed and facilitated violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act … by using Vikane, chloropicrin, and other regulated pesticides and chemicals in a manner inconsistent with their labeling. At certain times, when the Hawaii Department of Agriculture inquired into possible violations of FIFRA, members and associates of the Miske Enterprise used false writings and statements, and other fraudulent means, to impair, impede, and frustrate these inquiries.
On or about March 4, 2017 … Michael J. Miske, Jr., John Stancil and Kaulana Freitas … did knowingly use, and did assist and induce the use of … chloropicrin, a toxic chemical that the defendants did not intend to use for a peaceful or other lawful purposes.
5. Federal Prosecutors Say Miske ‘Wreaked Havoc’
The Hawaii Free Press reported that Miske’s arrest involved dozens of FBI agents and a SWAT team from Quantico, Virginia, who raided multiple locations, including Miske’s boat. Miske was arrested at his home in Kailua and was put into a car destined for the federal detention center.
Hawaii U.S. Attorney Kenji Price said that Miske and his co-defendants “wreaked havoc,” Hawaii New Now reported. Miske’s lawyer, Tommy Otake, told Hawaii News Now that proving the allegations in the indictment will be much more difficult in court.
Miske is accused of “preserving and protecting the power and financial profits of the Miske Enterprise through intimidation, violence, and threats of physical and economic harm,” including using illegal surveillance, tracking devices, and threats.
You can read the full indictment here.