Feds question inmate's identity

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Friday, April 5, 2013

— Authorities in court next week will try to determine what to do next with a man who might have been arrested, convicted and sentenced to the Rock County Jail using a false name.

Beloit police in August arrested a man identified as Hector Luis Vega Santiago, 51, of 1309 Emerson St., No. 9, Beloit. He was charged with second-degree recklessly endangering safety, a felony, and third-offense drunken driving, according to court documents.

A bouncer in August said Vega was highly intoxicated and wasn't allowed into Coyote's Bar, 107 Dearborn St., Beloit. Vega got into a car, sped around the parking lot and swerved toward the bouncer and another man, according to the criminal complaint filed in Rock County Court.

He didn't hit the men but smashed into two cars in the lot. The bouncers detained Vega and called police, according to the complaint.

On March 22, Vega pleaded no contest to misdemeanor property damage and was sentenced to two years of probation. He was sentenced to nine months in jail for the intoxicated driving charge, according to online court records. He was given Huber privileges, and his driver's license was revoked.

Since then, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have contacted sheriff's authorities and placed a hold on Vega. Federal officials think his name is Jaime Florio Arriaga Oritz, 41, of 1309 Emerson Road, Beloit. They don't know where the real Vega is, according to sheriff's office records.

At The Gazette's request, correctional supervisor Larry Klusmeyer resent Vega's fingerprints for confirmation to the state Crime Information Bureau. Records indicate Vega has a valid Wisconsin license, Klusmeyer said. He was surprised.

Such identity mix-ups are common, Klusmeyer said. People go to jail under false identities for a number of reasons. They might be threatened into doing so, or they might do so voluntarily as a way to avoid other charges or deportation, he said.

Sometimes arrestees just make up names that turn out to belong to someone else, Klusmeyer said.

The Rock County District Attorney's Office has re-opened the case, according to sheriff's office documents. A Wednesday hearing is scheduled to debate what to do next with the case, District Attorney David O'Leary wrote in an email to The Gazette.

Last updated: 10:28 am Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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