A Grand Rapids man released from prison last summer for a November 1998 murder pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal cocaine trafficking charge following his arrest in Southeast Grand Rapids with more than a pound of cocaine.
Keith Vonta Hopskin appeared in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids where he admitted to having at least a pound of cocaine he planned to distribute. He was arrested Oct. 7 during a drug raid on Dunham Street west of Fuller Avenue SE.
Hopskin "dashed to the basement bathroom to presumably dispose of drug evidence'' during a raid by the Kent Area Narcotics Enforcement Team, according to a federal criminal complaint.
Police recovered more than 19 ounces of cocaine and a handgun beneath a mattress used by Hopskin, court records show.
Hopskin told police he had been receiving several ounces of cocaine about two times a month since July, court records show. He was released from prison July 5 on a second-degree murder conviction.
The 38-year-old, who has a prior federal drug conviction, told investigators he paid $10,500 for the cocaine and was able to sell three ounces before police stepped in.
Hopskin in 2001 was convicted in the murder of Yancey Gray, whose body was found in a shallow grave off Five Mile Road near East Beltline Avenue NE. He admitted to beating the victim over an unpaid drug debt and was sentenced to between 12 and 37 years in prison.
In exchange for today’s guilty plea, federal prosecutors will not charge him with being a repeat felony drug offender. Hopskin faces a minimum of five years and up to 40 years in prison when he returns to federal court for sentencing in August.