FBI arrests 2 men in Puerto Rico in connection with drug trafficking ring run by Roberto Tapia


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ST. THOMAS ­- The FBI in Puerto Rico has arrested two more men in connection with a drug trafficking organization they said was run by Roberto Tapia, who was the director of Enforcement for the Department of Planning and Natural Resources when he was arrested and caught with 7.72 kilograms of cocaine May 17.

FBI agents arrested Angel Negron-Beltran, a food truck vendor who lives in Salinas, Puerto Rico, at his home Friday morning.

Agents also arrested Walter Hill, a St. John resident who operates a ferry between St. John and Fajardo, Puerto Rico, on a ferry boat Tuesday morning, FBI spokesman Moises Quinones said.

The District Court of the Virgin Islands issued arrest warrants for both men, and they are being detained in Puerto Rico until they can be transferred to St. Thomas for court proceedings, Quinones said.

Negron-Beltran and Hill are charged with drug conspiracy and named along with Tapia in a superseding indictment written by the U.S. Attorney's Office on St. Thomas. The men are in their 50s.

Neither man was armed at the time of their arrests and nothing was seized, and the arrests occurred without incident, Quinones said.

Authorities had searched for Hill at his St. John residence, but he was not there; he later was found on a ferry boat in Puerto Rico, Quinones said.

Joycelyn Hewlett, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said the indictment is still under seal.

Negron-Beltran is scheduled for a detention hearing today in the District Court of Puerto Rico, according to an online court database.

Quinones said he did not know whether Hill is related V.I. Police Sgt. Angelo Hill, who was arrested May 24 in connection with the case against Tapia.

Agents believed that Angelo Hill supplied Tapia with the 7.72 kilograms of cocaine seized during his arrest and that Tapia met with Angelo Hill the evening of May 17 on St. John to obtain the narcotics.

Tapia pleaded guilty Sept. 24 to one count of racketeering, which encompasses the sale and transport of more than 100 kilograms of cocaine from the Virgin Islands to a buyer in Puerto Rico.

The buyer has not been named in any of the indictments issued in the case.

According to court documents, Tapia appears to have been the subject of investigation since 2008. The charges against him pertain to the period between May 2012 and May 2013, when federal authorities were using wiretaps and surveillance to monitor his activities.

Tapia's co-defendants - Angelo Hill, Edwin Monsanto, Hector Alcenio, Rayomond Brown, Stephen Torres and Eddie Lopez-Lopez - await trial in District Court.

An omnibus hearing in the case is scheduled for Dec. 5.

- Contact Amanda Norris at 714-9104 or email anorris@dailynews.vi.

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