Cocaine Trafficker, Who Erased Fingerprints, Gets Life In Prison


PHOENIX - William
Wallace Keegan, aka Richard Alan King, 62, of Palm Harbor, Florida (and
previously of Calif. and New York), was sentenced yesterday to five
concurrent life sentences for drug trafficking and 240 months for money
laundering related to his drug trafficking activities. Keegan was
found guilty in June 2009, after a 10-day federal jury trial, of one
count of Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute Five Kilograms
or More of Cocaine, four counts of Possession With Intent To Distribute
Five Kilograms or More of Cocaine and one Count of Conspiracy to Commit
Money Laundering.

During the trial, the evidence showed that Keegan
had all 10 fingers surgically altered in the 1990's to obliterate his
fingerprints above the first joint. A Drug Enforcement Administration
forensic fingerprint analyst was able to match the lower joint
fingerprints from the arrest under the name of Richard King in January
2008 with a 1977 arrest, confirming his identity as William Wallace

30-Year Fugitive Had Ten Fingers Surgically Altered to Evade Capture

“This sentencing marks an
end to a nationwide drug trafficking enterprise that spanned over three
decades,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Elizabeth W. Kempshall.
“William Wallace Keegan was the leader of an extensive pipeline of
illicit drugs who did everything he could to hide his identity and
evade capture. Now, he will be behind bars and known only by his
inmate number.”

U.S. Attorney
Dennis K. Burke stated, “With this sentence and the conclusion of the
investigation, a drug pipeline from Mexico into Arizona and across the
United States has been shut down. After spending years avoiding law
enforcement, a career criminal has been brought to justice through the
teamwork of dedicated law enforcement officials.”

evidence presented at trial showed that between November 2005 and
January 2008, Keegan and co-conspirators acquired cocaine in Arizona
and transported it, primarily via the U.S. Postal Service, to New
York. Keegan had previously been trafficking marijuana from Arizona
and California to New York and elsewhere and shifted to cocaine in
2005. During the early part of the conspiracy, Keegan, who used the
false identity of Richard King, traveled to Arizona and personally took
possession of the cocaine from Arizona sources of supply. Testimony
showed that the drugs were brought into the U.S. from Mexico. As the
conspiracy progressed, Keegan had co-conspirators mail the cocaine to
him at various hotels in Long Island, New York.

tough sentence William Keegan received was reflective of his extensive
drug trafficking activities and the lengths he went to in order to
evade law enforcement,” said Pete Zegarac, Inspector in Charge of the
Phoenix Division Postal Inspection Service. “Our nation is a safer
place with Keegan off the streets indefinitely.”

Keegan was caught by law enforcement through an undercover DEA
operation in Hauppauge, New York, where he accepted suitcases
containing 38 kilograms of sham cocaine. The conspiracy was
responsible for well over 150 kilograms of cocaine with a value of more
than $2 million. The money was used in part to promote the illegal
drug business, resulting in the money laundering conviction.

In sentencing Keegan to life in prison, U.S. District Judge Susan R.
Bolton relied on the seriousness of the offenses, identifying drug
trafficking offenses in the quantities engaged in by the defendant as
some of the most serious federal crimes. She also noted that Keegan
had engaged in drug trafficking for more than 30 years and that this
conspiracy had stretched across the U.S. and involved large amounts of
drugs and drug traffickers. She noted that the sentence was needed to
keep any community safe into which Keegan would otherwise be released
and also to deter others from committing similar offenses.


Popular Video