All Members of Carbon Nation Headed Back to Mainland
All 21 members of Carbon Nation have boarded a plane and are headed back to the mainland after violating Gov. David Ige’s quarantine order for the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawai‘i County Prosecutor Mitch Roth confirmed Tuesday evening.
Eligio Lee Bishop, 38, of Georgia, leader of the reported cult who refers to himself as “Nature Boy,” was first to leave Hawai‘i Island, along with two followers.
Bishop and the 20 members of his group were taken into custody on June 10 and June 11 for violating quarantine. According to the Hawai‘i Police Department, the group landed at Hilo International Airport last week and was seen at a beach park the day they arrived.
All members were in Hilo District Court on Friday where they pleaded not guilty and requested a jury trial.
Roth said the prosecutor’s office made an offer to the group to leave the island at the time of their arrest and again on Friday in court, however, they didn’t want to leave. After a few days in Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center, Roth said, attorneys started calling and the office started working to make their departure possible.
Roth said the prosecutor’s office worked with Visitor Aloha Society of Hawai‘i (VASH), a nonprofit organization that provides funding to send visitors back home, to send Carbon Nation members back to the continental US.
Roth said it took a lot of agencies to make Carbon Nation’s apprehension and ultimate departure a possibility, but huge credit goes out to the Big Island community.
“If it wasn’t for the local community and bringing it to our attention, we may not have heard about it,” the county prosecutor said.
A total of 82 coronavirus cases have been reported on the Big Island, with only one being active. Roth said the community has taken quarantine seriously and residents all play a part in keeping the community safe.
Social media was flooded with posts of Bishop and his group soon after their arrival in Hilo. Ultimately, HPD was alerted and conducted two sweeps for quarantine violators. The first sweep occurred on June 10 at a residence on Pikake Street in the Fern Forrest subdivision, where five men and three women were taken into custody.
The following day, HPD arrested 13 additional individuals — six women and seven men — at a residence on Railroad Avenue in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision.