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Feds review man's immigration status after felony conviction

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AZTEC – Daniel Prieto-Lozoyo was sentenced Wednesday to time served after being convicted at trial in October of identity theft.

Prieto-Lozoyo, 33, served more than 15 months in prison awaiting the outcome in two criminal cases: the identity theft case filed in June 2014 and a methamphetamine trafficking case filed in October 2013.

The trafficking case fell apart in April after a district court judge ruled that Region II Narcotics Taskforce agents unlawfully seized the key evidence in the case – 2.8 pounds of methamphetamine – from a business in Bloomfield on Oct. 3, 2013.

The methamphetamine was valued at approximately $100,000 to $150,000, according to former task force director Phil Goodwin.

Prieto-Lozoyo was released from jail on July 8 pending an appeal in the trafficking case, but the identity theft case remained active, and trial was set for Oct. 21.

In that case, Prieto-Lozoyo was accused of using an El Paso man’s name and Social Security number to obtain employment with a Farmington air conditioner company, according to court records.

Prieto-Lozoyo denied using the man’s identity, but a manager at the company told detectives Prieto-Lozoyo worked at the company for about three months using the false identity.

He was convicted of identity theft, a fourth-degree felony, on Oct. 22 after a two-day trial, court records state.

Prieto-Lozoyo told Judge John Dean at Wednesday’s sentencing hearing that he missed his family and asked that Dean let him go home.

Dean agreed that 15 months in jail was a fair sentence for a fourth-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 18 months of jail time.

However, Prieto-Lozoyo soon may face action in federal court, according to San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O’Brien.

O’Brien said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has requested that Prieto-Lozoyo be detained while agents review his immigration status.

“I figure if he isn’t already in federal custody, he will be very shortly,” O’Brien said.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644. 

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