Grand jury indicts Hilo man on numerous firearms, drug charges


A 43-year-old Hilo man awaiting a preliminary hearing regarding numerous firearms and drug offenses has been indicted on the charges.

The Hilo grand jury on Wednesday returned a 16-count indictment against Richard Kualii Kamau.


The document charges him with three counts each of being a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition.

The document also charges him with illegally carrying a firearm and ammunition, 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.

The indictment nullifies the need for a preliminary hearing that was scheduled for March 25 in Hilo District Court, and sends his case to Hilo Circuit Court for arraignment, plea and a possible trial.

Kamau was released from custody Monday after posting $193,000 bond, but a bench warrant for his rearrest issued with the indictment increased his bail to $268,000, according to court records.

Kamau was arrested March 8 following a 10:30 a.m. traffic stop at the corner of Kalanianaole Avenue and Apapane Road in the Keaukaha neighborhood of Hilo because his Toyota pickup truck didn’t have the required mud flaps, according to police.

A search of Kamau’s truck made after an officer spotted a glass smoking pipe with a substance that later tested positive for methamphetamine 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 court documents filed by police.


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.

Email John Burnett at

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