Stephen Torres was sentenced Thursday to 33 months in prison for his role in the cocaine smuggling and distribution operation that came to light with the June 2013 arrest of Roberto Tapia, former director of the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources’ Division of Environmental Enforcement.
According to U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe, Torres’ sentence was handed down by District Court Judge Curtis V. Gomez on a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.
Torres, a 27-year-old from Puerto Rico, was arrested as part of the investigation of Tapia. On Nov. 7 Torres was charged in a 69-count, third superseding indictment, along with seven other defendants, including former Virgin Islands Police Department Sergeant Angelo Hill, Raymond Brown, Hector Alcenio, Angel Negron-Beltran, Eddie Lopez-Lopez, Walter Hill and Edwin Monsanto.
On Jan. 29, Torres pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. At the time of his plea the U.S. Attorney’s Office noted that Torres faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $5 million.
The case was investigated by the Public Corruption Task Force, which is made up of the FBI, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the VIPD, the 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, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Office of the Virgin Islands Inspector General.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly B. Lake and Kim Lindquist prosecuted the case.
Editor’s note: This story has been edited to correct the length of the sentence. The Source regrets the error.