A Mexican citizen with multiple aliases was sentenced in federal court Wednesday, July 13, bringing to a close a case that started in Waldo County last fall.

Cesar Benitez-Salazar, 26, was sentenced to 15 months in prison and two years of supervised release, according to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office in Bangor. Benitez-Salazar had pleaded guilty on March 28, 2011 to charges of entering the United States after having been deported and fraudulently using the Social Security number of another individual.

According to an article in the VillageSoup archives, this case began in the early morning hours of Halloween in 2010, when an employee at the Big Apple store on Route 1 in Belfast called police to report that they had refused to sell alcohol to Benitez-Salazar. Belfast Police Chief Jeff Trafton said at the time that the employee additionally stated that when Benitez-Salazar drove off, the vehicle he was driving did not have a license plate on it.

Trafton said Patrolman Mike Rolerson soon spotted the 1999 Chevrolet on the Route 1 overpass, but said when Rolerson went to execute a traffic stop, Benitez-Salazar refused to stop for the officer. Benitez-Salazar, according to Trafton, continued driving south toward Northport, and did not stop until reaching the Northport town line, at which time Benitez-Salazar’s vehicle caught fire.

“It was close to being a chase,” said Trafton, regarding Rolerson’s pursuit of Benitez-Salazar.

Once the vehicle fire — which Trafton described as being minor — was extinguished, the driver was arrested and taken to Waldo County Jail. At that time, the driver — who was then identified as 29-year-old Islander Birriel-Lopez — was arrested on the following charges: operating under the influence (he reportedly had a blood-alcohol content of 0.19 percent), criminal speed (classified as 30 or more miles per hour over the speed limit), operating without a license, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, refusing to sign a summons, driving to endanger, failure to stop for an officer and eluding an officer.

According to the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Benitez-Salazar presented a Maine identification card at the time he was stopped by Rolerson.

“An investigation revealed the defendant had acquired that card by using another person’s Social Security number,” the press release stated.

Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney F. Todd Lowell said Thursday, July 14 that “Islander Birriel-Lopez” was the name on the Maine identification card that Benitez-Salazar presented to Rolerson.

Benitez-Salazar was indicted by a Waldo County Grand Jury in November of 2010 on the charges stemming from the Halloween traffic stop, and his indictment indicated he had at least one other alias (Christian Rodriguez).

According to the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Benitez-Salazar “had been removed from the United States to Mexico in 2009 and again in 2010.” Lowell said Benitez-Salazar will, “in all likelihood,” be deported to Mexico again once he has served out his sentence in the United States.