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Hearing dates set for cocaine plane suspects PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 July 2017 11:38


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By ROBERT PIERCE

• Leader & Times



One suspect in a case involving the alleged landing of a plane containing 144 pounds of cocaine is now scheduled for a preliminary hearing, while the other faces a review hearing.

After their scheduling was delayed for about a month and a half, hearings for 51-year-old Patrick Williams of Tempe, Ariz., and 26-year-old Ricardo Lopez of Rio Rico, Ariz., are now set on the docket for Seward County District Court.

Lopez has a preliminary hearing scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 16, while Williams has a review hearing at 9:30 a.m. July 24. Those dates were set as part of schedulings for both suspects Monday.

Both suspects face one charge each of the following counts:

1. Distribution or possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance

2. Conspiracy to commit distribution or possession of with the intent to distribute a controlled substance

3. Possession of drug paraphernalia

4. No drug tax stamp

5. Possession of marijuana

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 Sherif’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.

 

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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.

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