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Case Number: 1:20-cr-20129-DMM
Judge: Donald M. Middlebrook
Court: United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (Miami-Dade County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office
Description: Miami, Florida criminal defense lawyer represented defendant charged with acting within the United States on behalf of a foreign government without notifying the Attorney General.
Since 2019, Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, age 36, a Mexican citizen who resident in Singapore, acted under the direction and control of someone he believed to be a Russian government official. Instructed by this Russian official, Fuentes arranged for an intermediary to lease a unit in a residential building in Miami-Dade County where a U.S. person, who had previously provided information about the Russian government to the U.S. government, resided.
Furthermore, at the direction of the same Russian official, Fuentes traveled to Miami in February 2020 to obtain the license plate number and parking location of the U.S. person’s car to provide to the Russian official upon his next trip to Russia.
Fuentes’s travel companion, at his request, took a photo of the U.S. person’s car. A WhatsApp message from Fuentes’s travel companion to Fuentes contained a close-up photograph of the specified U.S. person’s car. The manner in which Fuentes communicated with the Russian government official and his undertakings in this case are consistent with the tactics of the Russian intelligence services for spotting, assessing, recruiting and handling intelligence assets and sources.
Fuentes had not notified the U.S. Attorney General, as required by law, that he was acting in the United States as an agent of the Russian government.
Fuentes pleaded guilty in February 2022. U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks for the Southern District of Florida imposed the sentence, which included an order that the defendant be removed from the United States to Mexico promptly upon his release from confinement.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, and Director of Field Operations Vernon T. Foret of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Miami Field Office made the announcement.
FBI and CBP investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Thakur of the Southern District of Florida and Trial Attorney Matthew J. McKenzie of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section prosecuted the case.
18 U.S.C. 951, which provides:
(a) Whoever, other than a diplomatic or consular officer or attaché, acts in the United States as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General if required in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
(b) The Attorney General shall promulgate rules and regulations establishing requirements for notification.
(c) The Attorney General shall, upon receipt, promptly transmit one copy of each notification statement filed under this section to the Secretary of State for such comment and use as the Secretary of State may determine to be appropriate from the point of view of the foreign relations of the United States. Failure of the Attorney General to do so shall not be a bar to prosecution under this section.
(d) For purposes of this section, the term “agent of a foreign government” means an individual who agrees to operate within the United States subject to the direction or control of a foreign government or official, except that such term does not include—
(1) a duly accredited diplomatic or consular officer of a foreign government, who is so recognized by the Department of State;
(2) any officially and publicly acknowledged and sponsored official or representative of a foreign government;
(3) any officially and publicly acknowledged and sponsored member of the staff of, or employee of, an officer, official, or representative described in paragraph (1) or (2), who is not a United States citizen; or
(4) any person engaged in a legal commercial transaction.
(e) Notwithstanding paragraph (d)(4), any person engaged in a legal commercial transaction shall be considered to be an agent of a foreign government for purposes of this section if—
(1) such person agrees to operate within the United States subject to the direction or control of a foreign government or official; and
(2) such person—
(A) is an agent of Cuba or any other country that the President determines (and so reports to the Congress) poses a threat to the national security interest of the United States for purposes of this section, unless the Attorney General, after consultation with the Secretary of State, determines and so reports to the Congress that the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States require that the provisions of this section do not apply in specific circumstances to agents of such country; or
(B) has been convicted of, or has entered a plea of nolo contendere with respect to, any offense under section 792 through 799, 831, or 2381 of this title or under section 11  of the Export Administration Act of 1979, except that the provisions of this subsection shall not apply to a person described in this clause for a period of more than five years beginning on the date of the conviction or the date of entry of the plea of nolo contendere, as the case may be.
Outcome: 06/22/2022 57 ORDER OF JUDICIAL REMOVAL as to Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes re 53 Notice of Intent to Request Judicial Removal filed by USA. Signed by Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks on 6/21/2022. See attached document for full details. (gm1) (Entered: 06/22/2022)
06/22/2022 58 JUDGMENT as to Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes (1), Count(s) 1, IMPRISONMENT 48 Months AND 1 Day. Supervised Release:3 Years. Assessment: $100.00. Closing Case for Defendant. Signed by Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks on 6/22/2022. See attached document for full details. (cqs) (Entered: 06/22/2022)