Friday, Sept. 30, 2022|
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A 44-year-old Kona woman facing federal drug charges will remain behind bars while the criminal case plays out.
U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Wes Reber Porter granted a government motion Tuesday to detain Jennifer M. Conway, also known as Amanda Gene Vason, without bail pending the outcome of the case. Conway has been in police custody since her arrest April 21 at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole after arriving on a direct flight from Seattle.
There, awaiting law enforcement served a search warrant and reportedly recovered 1.7 pounds (502 grams) of methamphetamine, 2,700 fentanyl pills with a combined weight of 287.5 grams, and 1.8 ounces (52 grams) of heroin.
Prosecutors initially filed the case at the state level, however, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Honolulu opted to pick up the case, which came as the result of a month-long collaborative drug trafficking investigating spanning Hawaii Island and Washington.
Federal prosecutors initially charged Conway with single counts of possession with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine, 40 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing fentanyl and a “quantity of a mixture and substance” containing a detectable amount of heroin. However, a superseding indictment filed Thursday added counts of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or methamphetamine and fentanyl and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl 400 grams or more.
With the superseding indictment filed, a preliminary hearing that was set for May 12 is off the table. Conway will instead appear that day in U.S. District Court in Honolulu for an arraignment and plea hearing.
Because Conway has two prior felony drug convictions out of Washington, she could face life imprisonment, which means serving not less than 25 years, for all of the counts except the heroin offense, which is punishable by a minimum of 10 years.
Anyone having information concerning illegal narcotics distribution should call the Hawaii Police Department Vice Section in East Hawaii at (808) 961-2258 or in West Hawaii at (808) 326-4646, ext. 226. Those who prefer to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.