DPNR Chief Enforcement Officer Arrested for Drug Trafficking
St. Thomas, USVI – Roberto Tapia, Director of the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural
Resources (DPNR) Division of Environmental Enforcement, was arrested Friday by federal agents and
charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and possession of a firearm in
furtherance of drug trafficking.
The arrest was announced by United States Attorney for the District of the Virgin Islands Ronald
W. Sharpe; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Pedro Janer;
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Carlos Cases; Internal Revenue Service
Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) Special Agent-in-Charge José A. Gonzalez; United States
Marshal for the District of the Virgin Islands Cheryl Jacobs; Virgin Islands Police Commissioner Rodney
Querrard; U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Acting
Special Agent-in-Charge Angel Melendez; U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Special
Agent-in-Charge Marcelino Borges; United States Coast Guard Captain Drew Pearson, and the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent-in-Charge Hugo Barrera.
Tapia made his initial appearance in District Court today before Chief Judge Curtis V. Gomez, and was ordered held without bail pending a detention hearing Tuesday. According to the criminal complaint
filed in District Court today, federal agents observed Tapia on Friday using a DPNR boat in furtherance of
a drug trafficking conspiracy. At the time of the arrest, Tapia was armed, wearing clothing bearing
official DPNR insignia and in possession of a bag containing approximately seven kilograms of cocaine.
If convicted, Tapia faces a statutory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kelly B. Lake and Kim R.
Lindquist, and is being investigated by the DEA, FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, IRS-CI, VIPD, HSI, CBP,
U.S. Coast Guard, ATF, and the Public Corruption Task Force.
The public is reminded that a criminal complaint is merely a charging document and is not
evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
U.S. Attorney Sharpe also announced that a press conference will be held at 11 a.m. Monday in the
Ron deLugo Federal Building on St. Thomas.