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US clears Dominican singer charged with drug offences: case of mistaken identity

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HARTFORD, Conn. - When U.S. authorities charged Dominican singer Ramon Galvez with involvement in a drug-trafficking ring, he insisted they were mistaking him for another man.

Eight months later, federal prosecutors say he was right.

Galvez, who is known to fans by his stage name "El Gringo de la Bachata," was arrested after a federal grand jury in Connecticut indicted a man known as "Tanky" who is also named Ramon Galvez.

The U.S. attorney's office last week dropped the charges. A motion filed June 18 by Connecticut's U.S. attorney, Deirdre Daly, said "further information developed since the return of the indictment leads the Government to believe that Ramon Galvez is not the co-conspirator who is referred to be the nickname 'Tanky.'"

A spokesman for Daly said her office would not have any further comment on the mix-up.

Galvez, who lives in New York, was visiting Panama for a series of performances in October when he was arrested at the request of the United States and sent to face charges in Connecticut. The grand jury had indicted a total of 24 people and accused them of participating in a ring that shipped heroin, cocaine and marijuana from southern California to addresses in the Hartford area.

At the time, an attorney for Galvez in Panama, Mari Luz Taveras, told reporters that her client was being confused for somebody else, noting he had the same name but did not have green eyes as the suspect was described as having. She said he was eager to have his name cleared.

Galvez was jailed for more than a month before he was released on $100,000 bond, on the promise not to travel outside Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.

Messages seeking comment were left for the attorney who represented Galvez in the Connecticut case, Genesis Peduto.

Galvez was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, where he is well known as a performer of the native folk music known as bachata.

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