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Press Release


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

St. Thomas, VI – United States Attorney Delia L. Smith announced that Rafael Velez-Lopez of Puerto Rico pleaded guilty before United States Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller to one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

According to court documents, on September 22, 2020, Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrested Velez-Lopez and Emanuel Campbell Camacho after they observed Camacho exit the Windward Passage Hotel and enter a blue Mazda sedan that traveled to the parking lot at Nelson Mandela Circle. Camacho later exited his vehicle and approached the passenger side of another vehicle where he removed a black duffle bag and placed it into his vehicle. Camacho then returned to the Windward Passage Hotel with a duffle bag approached the stairs leading to the second- floor level of the hotel. As the agents approached Camacho, they observed Velez-Lopez near the top of the stairs checking his cell phone. Agents inspected the duffel bag and discovered 30 brick-shaped objects inside the duffle bag that Camacho was carrying. Velez Lopez and Camacho were in constant communication during the entire transaction. The bricks later tested positive for cocaine hydrochloride. Velez-Lopez will be sentenced by a federal district court judge who will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

This case was investigated by Drug Enforcement Administration and investigated by Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Payne. 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 February 27, 2023

Drug Trafficking