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Warrants for Traffic Stops Lead to Five People Getting Arrested for Narcotics Offenses

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.

Kaipo Botelho-Matthey

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.

Evelyn Lopez

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.

Michael Torres

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.

Zerica Bell-Ching

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.

Big Island Man Busted for Meth Trafficking From His Business in the Keaau Area

Big Island Police arrested and charged a 56-year-old Keaʻau man with first-degree methamphetamine trafficking after Vice officers served a search warrant at his business establishment in the Shipman Industrial area of Keaʻau.

Larry Lee McCormick

Larry Lee McCormick was arrested Tuesday (December 13) after Area I Vice officers located 33.4 grams of crystal methamphetamine or “ice” at his place of business. The drug was packaged for distribution in more than 30 resealable plastic bags in 1/8-ounce quantities—known as “8-balls”—and smaller. A digital scale and other paraphernalia indicative of drug trafficking were also recovered.

Also arrested was 21-year-old Elija Benavidez of Keaʻau, who was released pending further investigation.

On Wednesday night, McCormick was charged with one count of first-degree methamphetamine trafficking and two counts each of promotion of a dangerous drug and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bail was set at $570,000. He was held at the Hilo police cellblock until his initial court appearance on Thursday (December 15).