Defendant in Tapia drug case gets 30-month prison sentence


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ST. THOMAS - Another defendant in the Roberto Tapia drug ring case was sentenced Wednesday in District Court.

Hector Alcenio, 43, received 30 months in prison, after which he will have four years of supervisory release.

Alcenio pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine after his arrest on July 11, 2013. U.S. Marshals arrested Alcenio as part of the investigation of Tapia, the former director of the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources' Division of Environmental Enforcement.

Tapia, who was at the helm of a cocaine trafficking ring that spanned the territory, British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, used his position as a DPNR official to assist him in his illicit activity. While in uniform and while working as a law enforcement official, Tapia, 55, organized the trade of cocaine between various partners of his, according to court documents.

Alcenio was deemed one of Tapia's connections on St. Thomas.

A multi-agency investigation netted the arrest of six other defendants, aside from Tapia and Alcenio. The defendants included former V.I. Police Sgt. Angelo Hill, as well as Raymond Brown, Edwin Monsanto, Stephen Torres, Eddie Lopez-Lopez, Walter Hill and Angel Negron-Beltron.

District Judge Curtis Gomez sentenced Tapia and Angelo Hill in April.

Gomez sentenced Tapia to 70 months after he pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering, or using his government position to engage in illicit activity.

Gomez sentenced Hill to 21 months for his guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to possess and intent to distribute cocaine.

The remaining defendants in the case are expected to be sentenced in June.

The case was investigated by the Public Corruption Task Force, which comprises the FBI; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; V.I. Police Department; U.S. Marshals Service; Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division; U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; United States Coast Guard; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Office of the V.I. Inspector General.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly Lake and Kim Lindquist prosecuted the case.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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