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Fugitive pleads guilty, sentenced

CENTRALIA - On Washington's most wanted list, a man residing in Mabton under a false identity was taken into custody by Mabton police this past September.

After eight years of hiding out in Mabton, Refugio Vazquez-Tellez was finally sentenced to two years in prison for a 2004 incident of assault in Centralia.

He was initially slated to be charged with assault in the first degree, but after a plea agreement with Lewis County prosecutors, Vazquez-Tellez pled guilty to assault in the second degree with a deadly weapon.

Apparently, Vazquez-Tellez assaulted a victim with a beer bottle, leaving him with numerous lacerations. He fled the scene and was living in Mabton under the name of Manuel Vazquez-Escalante. He moved to Mabton in 2004 and made himself a home in the 400 block of Cedar Street, according to Mabton law enforcement officials. He started a new life in Mabton complete with a job, a girlfriend and a two-year-old daughter.

But after an anonymous tip came in to Mabton police, his fake identity was soon to be discovered. The tipster reportedly overheard Tellez-Vazquez "bragging" about the crime he got away with back in 2004. Mabton Sergeant Cas Cedillo says the suspect was arrested by Mabton police and after a few moments of interrogation, his true identification was unmasked.

The guilty plea was entered on Nov. 6 in a Lewis County court, and according to prosecutors, he will serve 21 months in prison.

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