CHRISTIANSTED — A St. Croix man who received 4.4 pounds of cocaine from an airport employee in a restroom prior to boarding a flight has been sentenced to 2.25 years in prison, authorities said.
Zion Hazel, 24, of St. Croix, appeared Wednesday before Visiting U.S. District Court Judge Anne E. Thompson in Golden Rock and was sentenced to 27 months in prison on a charge of conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said today.
According to court documents, on April 12, 2018, Zion Hazel, along with co-defendants Keithley Parris and Don-Luke George, conspired to bring 2 kilograms of cocaine into the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (HER) with the intent to transport the cocaine to Miami via American Airlines flight #2227.
Specifically, George, who was employed at the airport, smuggled four bricks of cocaine into the passenger waiting area of the airport, and delivered them to Hazel in the handicap stall of the men’s restroom. Hazel was a passenger on the outgoing American Airlines flight but was intercepted with the cocaine prior to boarding his flight by u.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated the case.
The DEA Southeast Laboratory in Miami analyzed the cocaine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel H. Huston prosecuted the case.
This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.