Traffic stop leads to drug arrests on Big Island

Nakalohe Gersaba, Rico Echiverri, and Zerica Bell-Ching.

Two men and a woman have been charged with drug offenses following a traffic stop in North Kohala.

Patrol officers stopped the car in Kapaau on Thursday because of a seat belt violation. During the stop, it was determined that the vehicle had been reported stolen. Police also determined that the driver and one of his two passengers were wanted on bench warrants.

All three occupants were arrested and taken to the Kona police cellblock for further investigation. During the course of the investigation, police located 6.4 grams of a crystalline substance and paraphernalia associated with methamphetamine use in the car.

Friday afternoon, Vice Section detectives charged the driver, 22-year-old Nakalohe Gersaba, who has no permanent address, his male passenger, 36-year-old Rico Echiverri, who also has no permanent address, and his female passenger, 24-year-old Zerica Bell-Ching of Kapaau, with promoting a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.

Gersaba was also charged with driving without a license, driving without insurance and failure to appear. His bail was set at $37,300. Police continue to investigate a possible charge against him for unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.

Echiverri was additionally charged with contempt of court and violating probation. His bail was set at $135,000.

Bell-Ching’s bail was set at $7,000.

All three were held at the cellblock over the weekend pending their initial court appearance on Monday.

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