Yacht captain sentenced to nearly 3 years in prison after passenger killed by propellers

Mauricio Alvarez did not have valid license to operate charter, prosecutors say

MIAMI – A South Florida yacht captain was sentenced last week to nearly three years in prison, months after a 25-year-old passenger was killed by the charter yacht's propellers off Monument Island.

Mauricio Alvarez was sentenced Wednesday to a total of 33 months in prison for misconduct or neglect of a ship officer that resulted in the death of an individual.

According to federal authorities, Alvarez was arrested in April at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport as he attempted to catch a flight out of the country.

Authorities said the victim, Raul Menendez, and his friends charted the 91-foot performance yacht Miami Vice on April 1 for $3,000.

Authorities said Menendez was still in the water when Alvarez was preparing to leave Monument Island. 

Alvarez started the yacht's 4500 horsepower engines and accelerated them in reverse, directly to where Menendez was swimming, authorities said.

According to prosecutors, Menendez got caught in the yacht's propellers and was killed.

Prosecutors said Alvarez did not have a valid U.S. Coast Guard license and had received a ticket from the Coast Guard a month before the incident for operating a charter without an appropriate license.

Authorities said Alvarez was also heavily using cocaine during the time he served as captain of the Miami Vice and was even filmed doing drugs by the owner of the Miami Vice.

Alvarez faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. 

Miami Vice owner Laurent Marc-Antoine Jean Maubert-Cayla, originally of France, pleaded guilty last month to the same charge. 

He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 10. 

About the Author:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.