Corrections Officer Charged with Felony Drug Offense

Hawaiʻi Police Department Vice Detectives have charged a 58-year old State of Hawaiʻi Corrections Officer with a felony drug offense following a traffic stop early Thursday morning.

The correction officer is identified as Ricky R. Espejo of a Kaʻū address. He is currently assigned to the Hale Nani Correctional facility in Hilo.

A South Hilo Patrol Officer conducted a traffic stop on a pickup truck being driven by a male later identified as Espejo around midnight on Thursday after it was observed with a defective brake light, also discovered to have an expired weight tax and safety check.  The safety inspection sticker attached to the vehicle was found to have been modified and fraudulent.

Upon contacting the driver the police officer observed drug paraphernalia in plain view and subsequently arrested Espejo and a 29-year old female passenger, recovering the pickup truck as evidence.

Vice detectives served a Search Warrant on the truck recovering drug paraphernalia inclusive of items containing methamphetamine drug residue.

Upon conferral with prosecutors, Espejo was charged on Friday at 11:30 p.m. with Promoting a Dangerous Drug in the 3rd degree, a class C Felony.  He remains in custody at the HPD Detention center held on $2,000 bail pending a Monday afternoon court appearance in Hilo District Court.  

The 29-year old female was later released pending further investigation.

Police ask anyone with any information about this incident to call the Police Departments non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Vice Detective Zachary Fernando at 961-2340 or via email at zachary.fernado@hawaiicounty.gov. 

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

HPD provided photo.