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Traffic stops lead to drug arrests of five Hawaii island residents

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 08:26 p.m. HST, Jan 09, 2012

The searches of two vehicles Friday in North Kohala on Hawaii island resulted in the arrests of three men and two women.

Police stopped a pickup truck driven by 26-year-old Kaipo Botelho-Matthey of Hawi on Union Mill Road in Kapaau because of a defective tail light and an investigation led to the arrest of Botelho-Matthey and his passenger 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. 

On 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. The passenger was released pending further investigation. 

In the second traffic stop, 24-year-old Evelyn Lopez of Hilo was arrested along with her two passengers, 43-year-old Michael Torres of Kapaau and 23-year-old Zerica Bell-Ching of Hawi. 

Upon execution of a search warrant Saturday, officers recovered a container that contained a crystalline residue, a glass smoking pipe with crystalline residue, .22-caliber ammunition, and $116 in cash.

On 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 five suspects were held at the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Vice Section continued the investigation.

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