A judge on Friday sentenced a Dominican man living illegally in the United States to 57 months in prison after the man admitted to drug smuggling and tax fraud.
Isaac Amparo-Vazquez, 30, pleaded guilty in August to conspiring to have two kilograms of cocaine shipped to Alaska, according to court records. Amparo-Vazquez also admitted to filing fraudulent tax returns to get tax refunds he was not owed.
Federal authorities in June name Amparo-Vazquez among 10 defendants in a identity-theft and tax fraud ring. The group stole or attempted to steal a total of about $25 million from the U.S. government, federal prosecutors said.
According to charging documents, agents caught onto the ring's tax-related crimes through a drug investigation and a series of undercover cocaine purchases.
Amparo-Vazquez helped organize the delivery of two kilograms of cocaine to Alaska in early 2012 and made at least two phone calls to Puerto Rico in which he discussed prices and shipment, according to a plea agreement. In the agreement, Amparo Vazquez also admitted to using stolen Puerto Rican identities to file for and receive fraudulent tax refunds between 2010 and 2012.
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By CASEY GROVE