Nationally known skateboarder Christian R. Hosoi, formerly of Lanikai, was sentenced to five years and 10 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for carrying nearly 1.5 pounds of crystal methamphetamine to Honolulu in January 2000.
Moments after he was sentenced, he clasped his hands before him and gave a silent prayer. He had faced a maximum of 87 months under federal sentencing guidelines.
U.S. District Judge Alan C. Kay considered Hosoi's rehabilitation efforts and cooperation with the government in determining a sentence on the lower end of the guidelines. "The court believes Mr. Hosoi tried to cooperate to the extent possible and is remorseful."
Hosoi apologized to the court yesterday and expressed remorse for his involvement in drugs. He had pleaded guilty to possession of crystal methamphetamine with intent to distribute, being a "courier" for money and later for drugs.
Hosoi attributed his conduct to an addiction to drugs and financial problems with his business that led to bankruptcy.
"I'm thankful I'm not dead because of my drug addiction," he said. He believes he has turned his life around and wants to make a difference in the lives of other youths, as he has done since his arrest.
"I want to be a good example; I don't want to be just a top professional skateboarder."
Hosoi said that since his arrest he has given his life to Jesus Christ and devotes his time to talking to other inmates and at-risk juveniles about his skateboard industry success and his drug addiction. He wants to expand his reach to high school youths and youth ministries.
Hosoi has provided a positive testimony to troubled youths and used his influence in the skateboard industry to get sponsors to build a skateboard park, said Christopher Swain, a pastor and director of the City Lights Christian Youth Center in Orange County, whose niece married Hosoi 2 1/2 months ago.
The court received more than 100 letters in support of Hosoi, including letters from six mainland sheriff deputies. One extolled the effect he made on a group of troubled youths who visited him in prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lou Bracco disputed the extent of Hosoi's cooperation with the government. He said Hosoi led federal investigators on a "wild-goose chase" for several months after his arrest based on information he provided and to this day has not been fully cooperative by providing the full names of those he worked for.
"I've prosecuted others who provided detailed information about people they were involved with, with some risk to themselves," Bracco said. "This defendant hasn't done that."
Hosoi, one of America's top 40 ranked professional skateboarders in the 1980s, is known for popularizing the "Christ Air" trick move where the skateboarder goes airborne and grabs the skateboard from under his feet with two hands outstretched and legs together to form the shape of a crucifix.
Hosoi started his own company at 17 and designed the Hosoi Hammerhead, named for the shape of the board's nose.