Hilo man sentenced to 10 years for dealing drugs


A 26-year-old Hilo man was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for charges related to possessing and distributing methamphetamine and a firearms offense.

Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto denied a request by Elijah Mahaulu for a deferral of his plea — which would allow the conviction to be erased from Mahaulu’s record after a period of time, should be remain out of trouble with the law.


Mahaulu pleaded guilty March 14 to second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, attempted second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, and two firearms offenses. In return for his pleas, prosecutors dropped charges of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, second-degree promotion of a detrimental drug, promoting controlled substances within 750 feet of a school or park, and two firearms offenses.

The two most serious offenses, second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and attempted second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, are Class B felonies punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.

According to court documents filed by police, a search warrant executed Nov. 10, 2020, on a home and vehicle on Awa Street in the Panaewa neighborhood of Hilo turned up 2.08 pounds of methamphetamine, 12 pills containing 10 milligrams each of oxycodone hydrochloride, a semi-synthetic opioid painkiller and Schedule II narcotic, almost 4 ounces of marijuana, a .22 caliber revolver and $2,000 in cash.

Mahaulu admitted to officers the cash was proceeds received from the sale of drugs, court documents state.

“Mahaulu was a full-fledged drug dealer with absolutely no regard for the law or his children, who slept in the bed near the closet housing his drug stash. He had thousands of dollars in his possession,” Deputy Prosecutor Elyssa Correia Keltner told the judge while arguing for the prison term.

“… This was money he received from selling poison to members of our community,” the prosecutor continued.

Mahaulu, who free after posting $172,000 bail in November 2020, was taken into custody after sentencing.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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