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Former Pirates Closer Felipe Vázquez Deported to Venezuela

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Felipe Vazquez

Former Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Felipe Vázquez has been removed from the United States back to his home country of Venezuela, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced.

Vázquez was taken to Venezuela by the Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Philadelphia field office on Dec. 1.

“(Vazquez’s) removal demonstrates ERO Philadelphia’s commitment to protecting U.S. persons from predators regardless of their public persona or status,” said ERO Philadelphia Field Office Director Cammilla Wamsley.

Vázquez was convicted of statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, indecent assault of a person less than 16 years of age, and 10 counts related to child sexual abuse material. The convictions stem from his original arrest in 2019.

The 32-year-old Vázquez was sentenced to two years in prison by the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County in Aug. 2021.

In May of this year, an immigration judge with the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review ordered his removal from the United States to Venezuela. Vázquez waived his right to appeal the decision.

Vázquez pitched for four seasons for the Pirates from 2016-19. In his career in Pittsburgh, he went 15-9 with a 2.17 ERA with 89 saves across 227 appearances out of the bullpen. The left-hander was named an All-Star two times in 2018-19.

Felipe Vázquez was born in San Felipe, Venezuela. He signed with the Tampa Bay Rays as an amateur free agent in 2008. The Pirates acquired Vázquez from the Washington Nationals in July 2016 in a three-player swap that sent Mark Melancon Washington D.C.

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