(BIVN) – Police arrested a Puna man Wednesday afternoon at a Hilo bayfront park, and charged him with various drug-related offenses.
56-year-old Pio Kapeli of Pāhoa is alleged to have been in possession of over four ounces of methamphetamine when contacted by police at the Mo‘oheau Bandstand stage.
“The arrest was the result of information police received regarding the sale of illicit drugs in the area of the Mo‘oheau Bus Terminal, officially known as the Russell Carroll Mo‘oheau County Park, in downtown Hilo,” the Hawaiʻi Police Department said in a news release. “Through information developed by vice officers, they were able to obtain a warrant for Kapeli and property in his possession.”
From the police department:
Upon Kapeli’s arrest, he was found to be in possession of a backpack. Upon execution of the search warrant on Kapeli’s bag, police recovered a gallon-sized zip-lock bag containing a white crystal-like substance, which ultimately tested presumptively positive for 119.37 grams (4.21 ounces) methamphetamine. Vice officers also recovered a digital scale with methamphetamine residue, more than 50 zip-packets (commonly used for drug distribution), and 20.83 grams of dried marijuana.
At the time of Kapeli’s arrest, police say “there were young children in and around the bandstand and park area.”
The location of Kapeli’s arrest, at a public park, could factor into the severity of a possible penalty, if convicted. From the Office of Hawaiʻi County Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen:
As the Complaint alleges, Kapeli was charged with Promoting a Dangerous Drug in the First Degree (possess over an ounce of methamphetamine), Attempted Promoting a Dangerous Drug in the First Degree (attempt to distribute one-eighth ounce or more of methamphetamine), Promoting a Controlled Substance In, On or Near Schools, Public Parks, or Public Housing Projects or Complexes, and Promoting a Detrimental Drug in the Third Degree. Promoting a Dangerous Drug in the First Degree and Attempted Promoting a Dangerous Drug in the First Degree are both class A felony offenses punishable by a maximum penalty of a twenty-year prison term. Promoting a Controlled Substance in a Public Park is a class C felony offense punishable by a maximum penalty of a five-year prison term. If convicted as charged, Kapeli faces sentencing to a mandatory prison term and will not be eligible for probation. Additionally, Prosecutors have provided a notice that Kapeli is subject to an extended term of imprisonment.
Also during the month of January, 34-year-old Jimmy Kaneala Clifford Carmichael of Hilo died at the Moʻoheau Bus Terminal, after he had reportedly been assaulted several minutes earlier.
A few days after the death, law enforcement cleared out a homeless encampment in the area of the nearby parking lot.