- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 29, 2012

SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (AP) - A court in the Dominican Republic has sentenced a New York singer to six years in prison for drug trafficking for trying to smuggle more than a kilogram of heroin in his stomach on board a U.S.-bound flight.

Bachata singer Jaime Vargas was arrested in 2010 at Santo Domingo’s airport when a couple of pellets he had swallowed burst. Known by the stage name Jimmy Bauer, he was hospitalized in serious condition.

He was sentenced Wednesday by a panel of three judges.

The New York resident of Dominican heritage was a minor figure in bachata. It is a popular musical genre that originated in the countryside of the Dominican Republic.

Vargas was part of a merengue group in Puerto Rico before focusing on bachata in 2005.

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