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St. Thomas Man Who Shipped Cocaine Disguised As Candy Convicted: USAO

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A St. Thomas man who shipped about a pound of cocaine disguised in colorful cellophane candy bags to the U.S. mainland has admitted in federal court to sending about half that amount in return for a reduced prison sentence, authorities said.

Kemo Riley, of St. Thomas, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Curtis Gomez accepted Riley’s guilty plea.

In his plea agreement, Riley admitted to mailing a package to an unnamed person in New York containing more than 250 grams of cocaine concealed in candy bar wrappers on May 28, 2019.

Riley faces up to twenty years’ imprisonment, a three-year term of supervised release, and a fine of up to $1,000,000. Judge Gomez scheduled defendant Riley’s sentencing for June 4, 2020, at 9 a.m.

Riley was charged in June with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a substance containing 500 grams or more of cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing 500 grams or more of cocaine, according to court records.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Homeland Security,

It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jennifer Blecher and Nathan Brooks.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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