KAILUA-KONA — With assistance from the Kona and Ka’u communities, authorities apprehended two fugitives in the Ocean View area Thursday afternoon.
At 1:15 p.m., Sloan K. Deleon, 26, and JennyLee Rego, 30, were taken into custody without incident by Hawaii police officers with the Special Enforcement Unit with the assistance of Ka’u patrol. The pair were wanted on drug court violations such as not reporting to drug court or their probation officers.
Sgt. Ed Buyten with SEU said Big Island Drug Court Judge Melvin Fujino issued warrants for Deleon and Rego sometime within the past two weeks. Both were set at $300,000.
Buyten said tipster calls about the couple’s whereabouts started coming in Thursday morning after West Hawaii Today published a story about search warrants simultaneously executed on two Kailua-Kona homes the day before. Deleon’s father, Robert, was taken into custody Wednesday at a home on Pelenike Drive where area residents had been complaining about stolen water.
Robert Deleon was taken into custody on suspicion of theft of utilities and criminal property damage. Buyten said other charges might be pending.
An excess of $1,000 in water appears to have been stolen.
As officers served the warrant on Pelenike Drive, the Special Enforcement Unit executed a second warrant on a home on Walua Road after it received information indicating Deleon and Rego had been staying there. Buyten said Robert Deleon had been seen at that property as well.
However, when the search warrant was served Wednesday, the pair were not found on the property.
The concern officers have when drug court participants stop checking in with their probation officers is they will reoffend. When someone gets into drug court, Buyten said, it’s usually because they’ve used or dealt drugs. Police are concerned about drug court fugitives because there is a potential they will commit indirect crimes that endanger the community.
Grayson Hashida, drug court coordinator, said drug court is a difficult program, and sometimes participants don’t comply.
“It’s unfortunate but it’s important for the public to realize we issue quick bench warrants and police are good about making an extra effort before they get into more trouble,” Hashida said.
Hashida added clients on probation status in general not checking in isn’t unique to drug court, but drug court does screen potential clients. Those who are considered violent offenders are not accepted into the program.