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St. Thomas Man Who Hid 9 Pounds Of Cocaine In Airport Bathroom Gets 3 Years

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A St. Thomas contractor who stuffed nearly nine pounds of cocaine in an airport bathroom wall was given more than three years in prison by a federal judge, authorities said.

Keilin Lopez Lopez, 22, resident of Charlotte Amalie, was sentenced to 37 months imprisonment followed by a four-year term of supervised release for possessing with intent to distribute approximately four kilograms of cocaine, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

According to court documents, on July 31, 2020 at approximately 6:30 p.m., a Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) employee witnessed a male tampering with a trashcan in a stall in the male restroom located inside the Cyril E. King terminal.

Officers removed the trashcan from the wall revealing an open recess in between both sides of the interior wall. One large brick-shaped bundle and one small brick-shaped bundle containing approximately four kilograms of cocaine were lying at the bottom of the recess where the trashcan was previously inserted.

Airport surveillance footage showed a male, later identified as Keilin Lopez Lopez, wearing a backpack enter the bathroom where the bundles were discovered. Officers located Mr. Lopez who is an employee for a company contracted to work on the airport remodel. After being advised of his constitutional rights, Mr. Lopez waived them and stated he removed the trashcan from the wall in the restroom stall and placed the bundles inside the wall.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). Assistant United States Attorney Juan Albino prosecuted the case.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.

Additionalinformation about the OCDETF Pr ogram can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

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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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