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North Dakota man sentenced for attack aboard cruise ship

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GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — A North Dakota man has been sentenced to three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to attempting to strangle a woman he was dating while aboard a Texas-based cruise ship.

Hector Blanco, 45, of Watford City, was sentenced Tuesday for the 2018 attack aboard Miami-based Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas cruise ship, federal prosecutors said. He pleaded guilty in January 2020 to an assault charge.

The case was investigated by the FBI.

"No excuse can justify Hector Blanco's violent actions that turned a dream vacation into a dreadful nightmare for his victim," said Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner.

Blanco admitted in his plea that he attempted to strangle the woman in their cruise ship cabin, but she was able to escape. Prosecutors say the attack happened about 45 miles (70 kilometers) from Galveston in the Gulf of Mexico.

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