Traffic stop in Keaukaha leads to firearms, drug charges

  • KAMAU

A traffic stop Monday morning in Keaukaha led to numerous firearms and drug charges against a 43-year-old Hilo man, according to court documents filed by police.

Officers pulled over Richard Kualii Kamau at about 10:30 a.m. at the corner of Kalanianaole Avenue and Apapane Road because his Toyota pickup truck didn’t have the required mud flaps, according to police.

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During the traffic stop, an officer spotted a glass smoking pipe “containing a clear crystal-like substance,” which later tested positive for methamphetamine, on the front passenger seat of the truck, documents state.

A search of the truck also turned up a zip package with 6 grams of methamphetamine, 1.2 grams of cocaine, 35 oxycodone hydrochloride pills — a semi-synthetic opioid painkiller marketed as OxyContin — and a container with a brown substance that tested positive as a marijuana concentrate, according to documents.

Officers also reportedly found two unloaded .45 caliber semiautomatic “ghost guns” — which means they don’t have serial numbers — plus 33 rounds of .22-caliber long rifle ammunition.

Kamau was charged with three counts each of being a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition, and illegally carrying a firearm and ammunition.

He also was charged with two counts each of possessing a firearm without a serial number and third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, plus possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony drug offense, second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, fourth-degree promotion of a harmful drug, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving with an expired license.

The most serious charge, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony drug offense, is a Class A felony that carries a potential 20-year prison term upon conviction.

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Kamau has a preliminary hearing scheduled for March 25 in Hilo District Court and remains in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center in lieu of $193,020 bail.

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