ANCHORAGE – Jose Luis Rodriguez-Vazquez was sentenced on February 23, 2023, to 46 months in prison for federal drug conspiracy and passport fraud charges.
According to a criminal complaint filed in September of 2010 by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Rodriguez-Vasquez distributed over 50 grams of methamphetamine to an undercover agent during a controlled purchase operation.
Following the operation in early 2010, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service received information from HSI that Rodriguez-Vasquez may have applied for a U.S. passport in a different name. Investigation found that Rodriguez-Vasquez applied for a U.S. Passport in 2002 in the name of Erik Ivan Cardiel and had received a United States visa in the Rodriguez-Vasquez name. Rodriguez-Vasquez was indicted in October of 2010 for passport fraud.
Rodriguez-Vasquez was able to evade law enforcement for over 10 years until he was located and arrested in 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana by the United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force.
Rodriguez-Vasquez signed a plea agreement in December of 2021, pleading guilty to drug conspiracy and passport fraud charges.
“Drug trafficking and identity theft are serious crimes, and we will work with our law enforcement partners in Alaska and across the country to bring these offenders to justice,” said S. Lane Tucker, United States Attorney for the District of Alaska. “If these offenders think they have escaped liability for their crimes, they are wrong. Like Mr. Rodriguez-Vazquez, they will be caught, they will be prosecuted, and they will be held accountable.”
“The successful outcome of this case is a result of the dedicated efforts of HSI and our partners to identify and combat individuals and transnational criminal organizations who pose a threat to public safety and national security,” said Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in the Pacific Northwest. “After ten years on the run, the subject in this case was held responsible for his drug trafficking and document fraud crimes based on the multi-jurisdictional cooperation across law enforcement agencies.”
“The Diplomatic Security Service is committed to investigating and pursuing anyone who applies for or obtains a United States passport using false documents,” said Special Agent in Charge William Chang of the DSS San Francisco Field Office. “The U.S. passport is the most coveted travel document in the world. There are foreign nationals who attempt to fraudulently acquire U.S. passports to carry out criminal activities, including terrorism, inside our borders. These crimes threaten the national security of the United States.”
This case results from a joint investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and was prosecuted by James Klugman, Assistant United States Attorney, District of Alaska.