Repeatedly deported immigrant returned to rape ex in NJ — now faces life in prison
A Honduran man who had been deported from the United States numerous times could spend his dying days in this country if a federal judge sentences him to life in prison.
Jose Amaya-Vasquez, 32, has pleaded guilty to federal charges of illegal immigration, kidnapping and interstate domestic violence after he abducted his ex-girlfriend from Independence, Missouri, and repeatedly raped her at knifepoint, including at a motel in Bellmawr on May 26, 2015.
His case became one of several that some supporters of then-candidate Donald Trump pointed to in calling for stricter immigration and deportation policies and penalties for immigrants who return after they're deported.
Amaya-Vasquez's run-ins with federal authorities date back to at least 2005, when he attempted to enter the country illegally at the Texas border. He was arrested and issued a notice to appear in federal immigration court, which he failed to do five months later.
He was arrested again in 2014 by police in Kansas City, Missouri, after he threw a comb at his girlfriend and pushed her into a table. He was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and deported on July 4.
Two months later, he was arrested again attempting to enter the country illegally at the Texas border. He was sentenced by a federal judge to 30 days in jail, deported in October and banned from the country for 20 years.
Months later, in January 2015, he was back in the country, Amaya-Vasquez admitted.
Federal prosecutors say he abducted his ex-girlfriend May 23 from the parking lot of a Burlington Coat Factory. He used duct tape to tie her and took the woman and her 2-year-old child to an abandoned house, where he raped her.
They then traveled to New Jersey, stopping at a motel in Ohio, where he raped her again, officials said.
Police in the Camden County borough were alerted to Amaya-Vasquez's whereabouts thanks to information from the Kansas City police, officials said.
His sentencing is Sept. 8, when he faces up to life in prison for kidnapping, up to 10 years for interstate domestic violence and up to two years for illegal immigration.
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Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.