- Associated Press - Friday, March 7, 2014

MIAMI (AP) - A South Florida Republican operative has been arrested and brought back to the United State from Nicaragua, charged with federal election violations with links to former U.S. Rep. David Rivera.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami reported Friday that 44-year-old Ana Alliegro faces a total of four counts, each of which carries up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines if convicted.

The charges are connected to Rivera’s failed 2012 re-election bid. An indictment claims that Alliegro illegally funded the primary campaign of Democrat Justin Lamar Sternad, who pleaded guilty last year to federal campaign violations. Those violations stemmed from a probe involving allegations that Rivera, a Republican, secretly funneled more than $80,000 to Sternad’s campaign to weaken his Democratic rival and eventual winner, U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia.

Rivera has repeatedly denied any connection to Sternad.

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