St. Thomas, USVI – Rafael Velez-Lopez, 24, and Emanuel Campbell Camacho, 29, of Vieques, PR, appeared today before Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller for preliminary and detention hearings after being taken into custody by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) at the Windward Passage Hotel last Friday. Velez-Lopez and Camacho were charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced. At the conclusion of the hearing, Magistrate Judge Miller detained Velez-Lopez and Camacho pending formal charges in this case.
According to court records, on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, DEA agents received intelligence concerning two unidentified males who had recently traveled by commercial flight from Puerto Rico to St. Thomas, and were driving a purple Jeep Wrangler. The first individual was described as a light-skin Puerto Rican male with blonde, shoulder length hair, and was later identified as Emanuel Campbell Camacho. The second individual was described as a Puerto Rican male with multiple tattoos on his arms, and was later identified as Carlos Rafael Velez-Lopez.
After two days of surveillance, on September 24, 2020, DEA agents tracked Velez-Lopez and Camacho to the Windward Passage Hotel as the vehicle they were occupying entered the gated parking area of the hotel. Later, at approximately 7:15 p.m., Camacho was observed leaning into the passenger side of the vehicle, and moments later, he was observed carrying a large, heavily weighted duffle type bag into the hotel courtyard. As he proceeded into the courtyard of the Windward Passage Hotel, agents observed Camacho carrying the weighted duffle bag up the stairs leading to the second floor level of the hotel. As the agents approached Camacho, they saw Lopez-Velez near the top of the stairs, sitting on a bench with a cell phone in his hands. Both Camacho and Lopez-Velez were taken into custody. Agents later discovered 30 brick-shaped objects in the black duffle bag that Camacho was carrying. A sample taken from one of the bricks tested positive for the presence of cocaine.
This case is being investigated by DEA and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Delia L. Smith. United States Attorney Shappert reminds the public that a complaint is merely a charging document and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.