Kona couple arrested with fentanyl at Big Island airport were under month-long investigation

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The arrest of a Kona couple found in possession of more than 60 grams of suspected fentanyl at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport was the result of a month-long investigation conducted by Hawai‘i Island police.

Based on intelligence and past contacts, police officials said detectives were waiting for Moriah Goulette, 37, and Izaiah Matthew Shields, 41, when they arrived on Dec. 29 on a flight from San Francisco.

According to court documents, Goulette and Shields were approached by Hawai‘i Island police Vice detectives at 1:20 p.m. Detectives contacted the couple soon after and searched Goulette’s floral-print bag and found an aluminum water bottle with 4.7 grams of what appeared to be fentanyl.

Using a fentanyl test strip, court documents indicate the powdery substance was presumptively confirmed to be the synthetic opioid. The couple was taken into custody.


Goulette also told police that Shields was carrying fentanyl in his anal cavity for their personal use while they were on the Big Island.

Shields agreed to an X-ray scan at Kona Community Hospital where a foreign object was found in his anal cavity.

After voluntarily removing the item, which appeared to be a chalk-like substance in condoms, Shields confirmed it was “a little bit of meth and a little bit of fentanyl” for personal use, according to court documents.


The substance also had a presumptive positive test on a fentanyl test strip.

On Thursday, Shields appeared in Kona District Court for a preliminary hearing on charges of first-degree promoting a dangerous drug and second-degree attempted promoting a dangerous drug. Judge Kimberly Tsuchiya found enough evidence to move the case forward to Kona Circuit Court, where he will be arraigned on Jan. 16.

He remains in custody on $75,000 bail.


Goulette was charged with third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug. She made her initial court appearance Tuesday in Kona District Court. Following a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, the court maintained her bail at $10,000, and she was ordered to appear for arraignment on Jan. 12 in Kona Circuit Court.

Shields and Goulette were suspects in past fentanyl-related cases. Vice Lt. Edwin Buyten said Goulette has a case pending.

During November 2023, there were eight fentanyl-related arrests, six in East Hawai‘i and two in West Hawai‘i. Police recovered 142.36 grams of illicit fentanyl, including 71.96 grams in Area I and 70.4 grams as well as 382.5 fentanyl pills.

Data for December has not been released.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a full-time reporter for Pacific Media Group. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.

Tiffany can be reached at [email protected].
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