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Costa Rican Man Sentenced to 46 Months for Smuggling Over 4,000 Pounds of Marijuana

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

According to court documents, on Nov. 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 the 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.

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