Cult leader among 21 arrested in Puna for allegedly violating quarantine order

  • photo from Change.org Carbon Nation leader Eligio "Nature Boy" Bishop, with companion Velvet Marquez and their daughter.

Police have arrested 21 individuals in a pair of sweeps in Puna subdivisions related to Gov. Ige’s COVID-19 emergency proclamation.

Nine arrests were made Wednesday in Fern Forest, and 12 occurred today in Hawaiian Paradise Park, police Lt. Rio Amon-Wilkins said.

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None of those arrested had been charged as of early this afternoon.

Twenty, all from out of state, were taken into custody on suspicion of violating the emergency 14-day travel quarantine order.

The other, 42-year-old Tylea Fuhrmann of Mountain View, is a resident of the property where Wednesday’s arrests occurred. Her booking appeared as “prohibited acts emergency management.”

“It’s my understanding that most of them flew in on June 7 or 8. I don’t have 100% confirmation on all of them,” Amon-Wilkins said. “We don’t have all the records from the proper authorities to document … mainland incoming passengers. We’re working on that.”

Social media posts have claimed that members of the “Carbon Nation” are on the Big Island. The group is referred to in numerous media accounts as a cult that has been kicked out of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama.

Police confirmed the group’s leader, Eligio Lee Bishop, a 38-year-old self-professed cult leader known as “Nature Boy,” was among those arrested Thursday in HPP, but didn’t provide the Tribune-Herald the names of the others arrested on the second day.

According to a Dec. 6, 2019, story in the Costa Rica Star, Bishop refers to himself as “God,” and the group “believes in nudism, polygamy, and refraining from bathing.”

The Costa Rica news outlet’s story also said Bishop “allegedly requires cult members to surrender all their money, credit cards, bank accounts, and pin numbers, in order to worship with the group.”

The Tribune-Herald could not immediately confirm whether any of the others arrested are members of the Carbon Nation or followers of Bishop.

In addition to Fuhrmann, those booked Wednesday are:

• Ishmael Jakeem Allah Goodwine, 21, of Orangeburg, S.C.;

• Armon Tarik Palmer, 20, of Waterloo, Iowa;

• Jacob Daniel Benton, 24, no address listed;

• Jazz Lee, 23, no address listed;

• Denedric Raione Johnson, 23, of Fort Worth, Texas;

• Brianna Kay Jacobs, 22, of Mountain View (no state listed);

• Jayon-Marie Hamilton, 22, of Lynnwood (no state listed);

• Shenise Crystal Gould, 29, of Aberdeen, Md.

Amon-Wilkins said he received information leading to the arrests from the department’s Special Enforcement Unit. He added none of those arrested were booked on suspicion of any other criminal activity.

Asked if those arrested knew about the quarantine, Amon-Wilkins replied, “We haven’t questioned them yet.”

“Of the 20 individuals that we arrested for quarantine violations from out of state, every single one of them were 100% compliant, 100% understanding … did not give the police one ounce of resistance and thanked us for doing things the way we did,” Amon-Wilkins said.

“And we told them the same thing (and) thanked them for being compliant and understanding.”

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This story will be updated. See Friday’s edition of the Tribune-Herald.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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