RT MediaMogul - шаблон joomla Авто
Lopez attempts to get cocaine case dismissed PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 14 October 2017 09:48


• Leader & Times

One of the two suspects accused of landing a plane containing 144 pounds of cocaine in May at the Liberal airport was arraigned Friday, but his trial is still yet to be scheduled.

Ricardo Lopez is still sitting in the Seward County Jail, while his attorney, Derek Miller, is awaiting a ruling on two motions, one to suppress and one to dismiss the case against his client.

Those motions will be ruled on at a hearing at  1:30 p.m. Nov. 15 in Seward County District Court. The motions came after Miller and the attorney for Patrick Williams, Lopez’s co-suspect in the case, questioned the key witness in the case at a joint preliminary hearing.

Seward County Detective Jared Wagenseller was continually asked by Miller and Williams’ lawyer, Paul Kitzke, as to why he did not get a  warrant to  search the plane and luggage at the scene. Wagenseller claimed if he had left to get a search warrant, Williams and Lopez could have likely escaped. The detective, however, added he had probable cause to search the scene.

Judge Margaret Alford, the presiding judge at the preliminary hearing, agreed with Wagenseller, saying enough probable cause existed to search the plane and ordered the suspects bound over for trial, though she knew the motions would be filed.

Friday, Judge Clint Peterson, who will now preside  over both  cases, read the list of charges from  an  amended complaint against Lopez and the sentences they  could bring. Those charges and sentences are:

1. Possession with intent to distribute cocaine of more than one kilogram – 138 to 204 months

2. Conspiracy to distribute cocaine – 132 to 198 months

3. Possession of drug paraphernalia – 10 to 42 months

4. No drug tax stamp – five to 13 months

5. Possession of marijuana – six months

6 and 7. Possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute –  138 to 204 months on each count

The last two charges were added from the original complaint. The sentences Lopez faces should he be  found guilty are dependant upon his criminal history.

Williams, the pilot of the plane, has an arraignment scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday in Seward County District Court. As of now,  he still faces just the five original charges from the filed complaint.

William and Lopez had their first appearance in Seward County District Court May 12 following their arrest May 10 at the Liberal Mid-America Regional Airport.

The arrests came after officials with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Seward County Sheriff’s office seized a large quantity of cocaine, as well as a twin-engine aircraft at the airport, according to a release from the KBI.

“The Department of Homeland Security Investigations and the KBI developed information which led them to believe a suspicious aircraft would be landing at the Liberal Mid-America Regional Airport,” the release said. “The Seward County Sheriff’s office was requested to conduct a ramp check, a review of the documentation and identification of the pilot and aircraft.”

The KBI release said just before 6 p.m. May 10, the aircraft landed and was detained by authorities.

“After contact was made with the plane’s occupants, over 65 kilograms (or 144 pounds) of cocaine were discovered,” the release said. “The cocaine is estimated to have street value of approximately $2 million.”

The release went on to say that the KBI and the sheriff’s office seized the Beechcraft Queen Air and the cocaine.

“The pilot and passenger of the aircraft were arrested soon after,” it said. “Arrested were a 51-year-old black male and a 26-year-old Hispanic male.”

Both Williams and Lopez are currently being detained in the Seward County Jail on bonds of $2 million each.




About The High Plains Daily Leader

The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

For more, contact us.


Get the Daily Leader delivered to your home for $101.45 per year in Liberal, or $140 outside Liberal. Call 620-626-0840 for a subscription today. You can receive the print edition or an electronic edition! To subscribe today, email circulation@hpleader.com.

RocketTheme Joomla Templates