Media release by Hawaii County Police Department:
Three men and two women were arrested for narcotics offenses Friday (January 6) after a coordinated effort between the Area II Ice Task Force and North Kohala Community Policing and Patrol Officers led to execution of two unrelated search warrants, each stemming from traffic stops.
Police stopped a pickup truck driven by 26-year-old Kaipo Botelho-Matthey of Hawi on Union Mill Road in Kapaʻau because of a defective tail light. Further investigation led to the arrest of Botelho-Matthey and his passenger, 26-year-old Trent Fujii of Hawi, on suspicion of drug charges. In a search warrant on the truck the following day, police recovered resealable plastic packets containing crystalline substance, a glass smoking pipe with crystalline residue, an unregistered .22 caliber firearm, ammunition,and $852 in cash.
A second traffic stop on a sedan driven by 24-year-old Evelyn Lopez of Hilo led to the arrest of Lopez and her two passengers, 43-year-old Michael Torres of Kapaʻau and 23-year-old Zerica Bell-Ching of Hawi. Upon execution of a search warrant on Saturday, officers recovered a container that contained a crystalline residue, a glass smoking pipe with crystalline residue, .22 caliber ammunition, and $116 in cash.
The five suspects were held at the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Vice Section continued the investigation.
At 3:40 p.m. Sunday, detectives charged Botelho-Matthey with second-degree promoting dangerous drugs, third-degree promoting dangerous drugs, three firearms offenses, driving with a defective tail light and two counts of possessing drug paraphernalia. His bail was set at $14,000.
Fujii was released pending further investigation.
At 3:45 p.m. Sunday, Lopez and Bell-Ching were charged with one count each of third-degree promoting dangerous drugs and possessing drug paraphernalia. Lopez was also charged with a no-fault insurance offense. Her bail was set at $4,025 and Bell-Ching’s bail was set at $4,000.
Torres was charged with two counts each of third-degree promoting dangerous drugs and possessing drug paraphernalia, and three firearms offenses. His bail was set at $51,000.
The recovered cash from both vehicles was seized for forfeiture.
All five individuals were held at the Kona Police station pending their initial court appearances on Monday morning at Kona District Court.
These arrests are part of the Police Department’s ongoing effort to curtail illegal drug distribution in our community. Concerned citizens are encouraged to continue to provide tips to the Vice Sections at 934-8423 in Hilo and 329-0423 in Kona.