Police arrest, charge 5 for narcotics offenses


Three men and two women were arrested for narcotics offenses Friday 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, according to the Hawaii Police Department.

Police stopped a pickup truck driven by Hawi resident Kaipo Botelho-Matthey, 26, on Union Mill Road in Kapaau because of a defective tail light. Further investigation led to the arrest of Botelho-Matthey and his passenger, Hawi resident Trent Fujii, 26, on suspicion of drug charges, police said.

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 Hilo resident Evelyn Lopez, 24, led to the arrest of Lopez and her two passengers — Kapaau resident Michael Torres, 43, and Hawi resident Zerica Bell-Ching, 23. Upon execution of a search warrant Saturday, police officers recovered a container with 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, police said.

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, police said.

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, police said.

The recovered cash from both vehicles was seized for forfeiture, police said.

All five individuals were held at the Kona Police station pending their initial court appearances on Monday morning at Kona District Court, police said.

The department encouraged residents to continue to provide tips about possible illegal activity to the Vice Section at 329-0423 in Kona and 934-8423 in Hilo.

By local sources