Eleven arrested in a prostitution sting

Eleven adults – 10 men and a woman – were arrested by police last week during a prostitution operation carried out by the Hilo vices section.

According to Sgt. Jason Grouns of the Hawaii Police Department Administrative Office, the operation took place Tuesday and Wednesday at a hotel on Banyan Drive in Hilo.

“The suspects responded to an online advertisement,” Grouns said in an email Monday.

Those arrested include: two men from Mountain View, 65 years old; three Hilo men, aged 35, 44 and 57; a 33-year-old Volcano man; a 38-year-old man from Keaau; a 45 year old man, Kula, Maui; a 39-year-old man in East Puyallup, Washington; a 41-year-old man whose address was not disclosed; and a 60-year-old woman from Honolulu.

All were arrested Wednesday or Thursday and were convicted of incitement to prostitution, an offense punishable by one year in prison if convicted, and released pending further investigation.

The Tribune-Herald does not publish the names of the suspects, as none have yet been charged.

No other law enforcement agency was involved in the undercover operation, Grouns said.

The last sex-related sting operation in Hilo took place in May and resulted in the arrest of five men on charges including first-degree electronic incitement of a child, a Class B felony punishable by ” a sentence of up to 10 years in prison on conviction. .

The statuses of these cases are as follows:

• Sonny Eugenio Puerto, 28, of Kurtistown, pleaded not guilty to electronic first-degree seduction of a child. No trial date has been set, but a “further processing” hearing is scheduled for December 7 at 8:30 am before Hilo Circuit Judge Peter Kubota. Puerto is free on $ 30,000 bond.

• Nolan Okalani Tallett, 45, of Honolulu, pleaded not guilty to first-degree electronic seduction of a child. No trial date has been set, but a further hearing is scheduled for January 12 at 8 a.m. in front of Kubota. Tallett is free on $ 50,000 bail.

• Kanani Ikaika Perreira-Yurong, 31, of Hilo, pleaded not guilty to electronic first-degree seduction of a child. No trial date has been set, but a further hearing is scheduled for December 21 at 8 a.m. before Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto. Perreira-Yurong is free on $ 50,000 bail.

• Marshall K. Baji, 31, of Naalehu, pleaded not guilty to first-degree electronic seduction of a child, attempting to promote pornography to a minor, attempting to first-degree promotion of a sexual image produced by a minor, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a loaded firearm on a public highway, illegal transport of ammunition, and firearms licensing and registration offenses. He has a trial scheduled for January 24 at 8:30 a.m. in the Nakamoto courtroom. Baji remains in custody at the Hawaii Community Correctional Center in lieu of a $ 143,000 bond.

• Joseph Michael Powell, 36, of Hilo pleaded not guilty to electronic first-degree seduction of a child, attempting to promote pornography to minors and 11 counts of attempting to promote produced nude images by minors. Powell is scheduled to appear before Kubota on November 23, but the state’s court system website has not been updated to indicate the purpose of the hearing. Powell remains in custody at HCCC in lieu of $ 82,000 bail.

The May Sting was a multi-agency operation dubbed “Operation Keiki Shield” – and was carried out by the Hawaii Police Department, Hawaii County Attorney’s Office, Department of Attorney General, Task Force on Internet crimes against children, the Department of Homeland Security. , the US Secret Service, the FBI and the Kauai Police Department.

The ages of the suspects arrested in the May operation are the age indicated at the time of arrest.

Email John Burnett at [email protected]

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