A Dominican illegal alien murdered gangland style last year in Lynn, Massachusetts, was a heroin trafficker, an identity thief, a welfare fraudster and, according to federal records obtained by The Daily Caller, a registered Democrat.
The story of Carlos Isaias-Aponte, aka Santo Ramirez-Ferman, aka Francisco Ocasio, aka Luis A. Camacho, is drawn from more than 400 pages of documents obtained from the Department of Homeland Security through a FOIA request and multiple interviews with law enforcement officers familiar with the case.
Aponte — born in 1976 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic — was shot in the chest and neck in the early morning hours of February 13, 2017.
Security camera footage obtained by the Lynn police showed three hooded men leaving his apartment hours before his body was discovered in a snowbank, but the case remains an unsolved mystery.
Mass. State Police say they have no motive for the slaying.
A law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly said Aponte had ties to the Dominican drug organizations which control the majority of the heroin and fentanyl trafficking in New England.
“That was a straight up execution. Three guys? That was definitely an execution,” the official said. “Low level dealers don’t get assassinated.”
According to a 2016 report from the Boston Police Department, more than half of heroin trafficking arrestees in the city are from the DR.
Aponte arrived in Massachusetts sometime before 2007 and began living with a Dominican Legal Permanent Resident, Santo Ramirez-Ferman, whose identity he would later assume.
Using Ramirez-Ferman’s identity, Aponte was arrested and charged with multiple drug trafficking offense, including possession with the intent to distribute heroin in a school zone in February 2008 and cocaine June 2008.
Aponte did not show up for his court appearances.
The real Ramirez-Ferman was arrested in 2009, deported from San Juan, Puerto Rico, following his conviction on separate drug trafficking charges.
In 2010, shortly after Ramirez-Ferman’s deportation, Aponte acquired a new birth certificate, which he subsequently used to obtain a Massachusetts Driver’s License, a Social Security Card, and multiple welfare benefits.
The identity Aponte acquired in 2010 was that of Francisco Ocasio, a U.S. citizen residing in Gurabo, Puerto Rico.
“It’s easy to get Puerto Rican documents,” a law enforcement official said, adding that such identity documents can be purchased on the black market for $700 to $800.
In Dec. 2010, Aponte was arrested for drug possession. He admitted in East Boston District Court to having used Ramirez-Ferman’s identity fraudulently, but continued to represent himself as Ocasio. The judge on the case handed him a two-year sentence for the earlier drug trafficking charges, which he served under a fraudulent identity.
According to the DHS documents made available to The Daily Caller, Aponte was arrested again in November 2014 for armed assault and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He was on pre-trial probation at the time of his murder.
Aponte was the subject of a federal investigation that began in January 2015, when ICE agents received information that he might be an impostor fraudulently receiving welfare benefits.
Investigators found Aponte received $8,538.60 in stolen benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps, using his stolen Puerto Rican identity. He was also able to apply for Mass Health, the Bay State’s version of Medicaid, a federal medical welfare program.
“During the course of the investigation,” federal records state, “it was discovered that Carlos Isaias APONTE (APONTE) fraudulently obtained the stolen identities of [REDACTED] and [REDACTED], obtained Ohio and Massachusetts Driver’s Licenses (or ID) under the stolen identities, and received benefits from the Mass. Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) and Mass Health.”
Aponte received taxpayer-funded medical care at Alegre Dental Center in Lynn, in 2010 and 2012. He used his benefits three times in 2014 at Globus Dental, also in Lynn. In 2015, Aponte used Mass Health to pay for seven trips to Lynn Community Health Center.
All told, Aponte used his stolen identity to receive medical welfare benefits worth $7,830.48, for a total of $16,369 in stolen benefits.
Investigators also found Aponte had registered to vote when he applied for a Massachusetts Driver’s License using the stolen Puerto Rican identity of Francisco Ocasio. The DHS report states: “APONTE checked on the RMV application that he was a citizen of the United States and wished to register to vote as a Democrat.”
The Lynn City Clerk’s office confirmed that an individual registered to vote under Ocasio’s name in April 2010.
The real Ocasio, when contacted by federal agents in Puerto Rico, swore under oath that he has never left the island. He told federal agents that he lost his birth certificate and social security card in 2006.
“He became aware his identity was stolen around May 2015 when his mother received a call from HIS agents in Boston who informed her of the ongoing investigation,” the report states.
ICE agents were ready to arrest Aponte as early as April 2015.
The criminal violations listed in the case summary against Aponte included falsely registering to vote, aggravated identity theft, and falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen. Despite the mounting evidence that Aponte was in the country illegally and using with a stolen Puerto Rican identity, the agents investigating the case could not convince prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office to act on the case because Aponte’s true identity was unknown.
At the time, the U.S. Attorney was an Obama appointee named Carmen Ortiz. She has since been replaced by a Republican appointed by President Donald Trump.
In an effort to identify Aponte, investigators tracked transactions on his EBT card to uncover his typical travel behavior.
“It looks like he’s a regular at Family Dollar and it’s right around the corner from where he hands out and sells drugs,” an agent wrote in an August 2016 email.
The break in the case came one month later when Aponte, under the identity of Ocasio, showed up for a probation meeting in Lynn with a woman and a minor female child.
“[REDACTED] showed up for his scheduled probation meeting,” wrote an unidentified Immigration Enforcement Agent, “with his baby mama in tow, claiming that she was his child when asked.”
“After a lot of searching and multiple city halls I found her identity and subpoenaed Salem clerks (sic) officer for a birth certificate,” the agent wrote.
In December 2016, the ICE agent working the case was informed that an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Boston had declined criminal prosecution of Aponte and the case was referred back to ICE.
Justice Department officials refused to identify the AUSA who referred the case back to ICE.
ICE was prepared to apprehend Aponte for deportation in early February of 2017. He was found dead one week before his scheduled arrest.
Aponte is survived by three children, two in the U.S. and one in the D.R.
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson, an immigration hardliner in a deep blue state, said Aponte’s case is not unique.
“That’s happening by the thousands all over this country,” said Hodgson. “The Dominicans use a lot of Puerto Rican IDs because the system there is very loose.”
“As a result, we have to step it up, because we’re not just talking about criminal heroin dealers,” he said.
“Think about how many impostors might be terrorists in the waiting.”