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Press Release

Pearl City Man Arrested for Methamphetamine and Fentanyl Trafficking and Firearm Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Hawaii

HONOLULU – Bronson Kepa‘a, 38, of Pearl City, made his initial appearance today in United States District Court on charges filed in a criminal complaint that he possessed more than 50 grams of methamphetamine and more than 40 grams of fentanyl with intent to distribute them and carried a semi-automatic pistol during and in relation to that possession. The appearance followed his arrest yesterday at his Pearl City residence. Magistrate Judge Rom Trader ordered him detained pending a detention hearing on October 21, 2022.

According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) followed up on a fentanyl overdose resulting in death on October 7, 2022. The investigation led to an individual who reported obtaining fentanyl from a second individual and giving it to the overdose victim on October 7. The second individual, who was arrested after agreeing to provide more fentanyl to the first individual, identified a third individual as the person who provided the fentanyl. The third individual was arrested after agreeing to sell more fentanyl to the second individual.

The affidavit further recounted that the third individual identified Kepa‘a, who was known to the third individual as “Bronzy,” as a person who provided both fentanyl and methamphetamine to the third individual. On October 17, law enforcement officers executed a federal search warrant on Kepa‘a’s Pearl City residence and recovered approximately 61 grams of suspected fentanyl and one kilogram suspected crystal methamphetamine as well as a loaded firearm, semiautomatic rifles, and boxes of ammunition.

“Increased trafficking of fentanyl, an extremely lethal synthetic opioid, promises to cause significant harm in our state,” said Clare E. Connors, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii. “As demonstrated by this case, a very small dose – one pill – has the potential to kill, and while federal and local law enforcement will continue

their joint efforts to investigate illegal drug trafficking, including trafficking resulting in overdose deaths, everyone should be aware of the terrible dangers of fentanyl.”

“Dangerous and highly addictive synthetic drugs like methamphetamine and fentanyl are wreaking havoc on our communities and killing people at increasing rates,” said DEA Hawaii District Office Assistant Special Agent in Charge Victor Vazquez. “This case illustrates the collaborative work, alongside our local law enforcement partners, to target and hold drug traffickers accountable who drive addiction and threaten public safety.”

“The collaborative efforts of the Honolulu Police Department’s Narcotics/Vice Division, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Attorney’s Office resulted in a week-long operation that culminated in the arrest of this defendant and others who were involved in the distribution of fentanyl,” said Rade Vanic, Acting Chief of HPD. “The tragic death of a young Honolulu resident associated with at least one member of this group resulted from an overdose of fentanyl. This overdose death and others afflicting our community highlights a pernicious problem, and this investigation demonstrates what can be accomplished with a coordinated law enforcement effort. Those profiting from the distribution of fentanyl and the suffering of our community will be held accountable for their actions, and we remain committed to keeping our municipality safe from those who peddle poison to our ohana and friends.”

If indicted and convicted on those charges, Kepa‘a faces a maximum term of life imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum term of ten years, on the drug offenses, and for the firearm offense, a mandatory term of five years imprisonment consecutive to any sentence imposed on the drug charges.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Honolulu Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Nammar is handling the prosecution.

Updated October 19, 2022

Drug Trafficking