Dominican celebrity fugitive in cocaine and money laundering ring back in US jail
CLIFFVIEW PILOT BROKE THE STORY: A fugitive who forfeited $1 million bail when she fled the country was returned to the Bergen County Jail on Wednesday after she was seized by authorities in the Dominican Republic over the weekend after more than six years on the run.

 

Yamilis Centeno Rivera, a 27-year-old former Spanish-language TV celebrity who had lived in Hackensack, was arrested on Jan. 23, 2006 along with a man named Kelvin Caceres, in connection with a massive cocaine trafficking and money laundering crew.

In addition to the drug and financial-related crimes, Centeno Rivera was charged with illegally packing a Lorcin .380-caliber handgun and giving bogus information to police.

Superior Court Judge Joseph Conte set bail at $1 million.

Centeno Rivera posted it. 

That was the last that authorities saw her, until this past weekend.

Meanwhile, members of the crew – including the ringleader, Roberto De Lorbe – were convicted and sentenced to prison.
 

A grand jury in Bergen County indicted Centeno Rivera and Caceres, along with her associates, on Oct. 26, 2010, records show.

Caceres, considered a buyer and not a ranking member of the network, later was convicted. He was released last November after serving a little over a year behind bars in exchange for his cooperation, records show.

The Dominican government issued a warrant for Centeno Rivera’s arrest on Feb. 21, 2011 following a request for extradition from United States authorities.

The country’s National Drug Control Agency reported Monday that its agents picked up Centeno Rivera on Sunday in the town of Bonao -- less than 50 miles northwest of Santo Domingo -- where she'd been "living as an ordinary citizen."

Centeno Rivera, who also goes by the name Maricelly Morfe-Paulino, was extradited and then booked into the Bergen County Jail on Wednesday.

She is being held without bail, charged with cocaine trafficking, money laundering, weapons possession, hindering apprehension and giving false information to a law enforcement officer.

Centeno Rivera is the third female member of the once-popular Dominican TV show "Sábado de Corporán" to end up in trouble with the law, one for cocaine trafficking and the other for running a tourist scam with her husband. 

The show, which ran for up to seven hours every Saturday and included cash prizes and other contest gifts, lasted 25 years before being cancelled. Its creator, the popular Dominican celebrity Rafael Santos Corporán, died earlier this year.

When they arrested Centeno Rivera on Sunday, Dominican authorities said, they seized her Toyota SUV and "personal property" made by Louis Vuitton, Lacoste and Bvlgari, among others.

 

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Go back | Date: 23 Sep 2012
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