MIAMI – A Mexican man accused of illegally working as a Russian agent in Miami appeared in federal court on Friday.
Authorities arrested Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes earlier in the week after he was allegedly caught trying to fly back to Mexico at Miami International Airport.
The feds accuse Fuentes of trying to provide information on a U.S. government source to Russian agents without informing the U.S. government.
According to the Justice Department, a Russian government official recruited Fuentes, a resident of Singapore, in 2019. The Russian official later directed Fuentes to rent a specific property in Miami-Dade County, but not in his own name, the Justice Department said.
Fuentes traveled twice to Moscow to meet with the official, the Justice Department said, and during the second meeting received a physical description of the U.S. government source’s vehicle. The Russian official told Fuentes to locate the car, obtain the source’s vehicle license plate number, and note the physical location of the source’s vehicle with the goal of providing that information in April or May.
The Justice Department said Fuentes, having traveled from Mexico City to Miami last Thursday, attracted the attention of a security guard where the U.S. government source resided because his rental car entered the premises while tailgating another vehicle. A person with Fuentes then photographed the source’s vehicle and license plate, the Justice Department said.
Customs and Border Protection stopped Fuentes and his companion when they appeared at Miami’s airport Sunday night to return to Mexico City. Fuentes admitted to law enforcement officers that he was directed by a Russian government official to conduct the operation, the Justice Department said.
Fuentes appeared in federal court with his public defender Friday morning, at which time a judge ruled he continue to be held on pre-trial detention.
He is expected to appear back in court for his arraignment on March 3.