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Press Release


For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Virgin Islands

St. Croix, VI – United States Attorney Delia L. Smith announced that Keyran Coto Lopez, 28, of Costa Rica, was sentenced by District Judge Wilma Lewis to 46 months of incarceration following his guilty plea to possession with intent to distribute marijuana onboard a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

According to court documents, on November 7, 2022, while on patrol in international waters in the Eastern Pacific, the United States Coast Guard Cutter Campbell intercepted a go-fast vessel operating approximately 65 nautical miles South of Boca Chica, Panama, with no physical flag flown and no registration documents. Coast Guard officials also observed contraband on the deck of the go-fast vessel and three individuals later identified as Lopez, Alonso Hernandez-Hernandez and Luis Orellana-Orellana onboard. All three occupants claimed to be nationals of Costa Rica and claimed Colombian nationality for the go-fast vessel. The Colombian government neither confirmed nor denied nationality of the vessel thereby subjecting it to the jurisdiction of the United States. A search of the go-fast vessel resulted in the recovery of 4,104 pounds of marijuana. Hernandez-Hernandez and Orellana-Orellana also pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

This case was investigated by the United States Coast Guard and the Drug Enforcement Administration and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Melissa P. Ortiz. 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. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

Updated November 14, 2023

Drug Trafficking