Feds say he was a Russian spy in Miami, now scientist gets 4 years behind bars

Espionage tactics, trips to Moscow and multiple wives part of Hector Cabrera’s playbook

Hector Cabrera, 36 (LinkedIn profile and Google Street View)

MIAMI – A judge sentenced a Mexican scientist who pleaded guilty in court to acting as an unregistered foreign agent on behalf of Russia to four years and a day in prison Tuesday.

The story of Hector Cabrera, 36, involves, among other things, espionage tactics, trips to Moscow, and two wives on two separate continents. And it all comes back to South Florida.

Prosecutors said Cabrera arranged for an intermediary to lease an apartment in a Miami condominium building where a U.S. confidential source lived and he followed the source, keeping tabs on his or her vehicle, according to federal prosecutors in Miami.

FBI special agents in the counterintelligence division concluded Cabrera’s behavior was an example of Russian intelligence services’ tactics “for spotting, assessing, recruiting and handling intelligence assets and sources.”

Cabrera, a Mexican physician and scientist doing research in Singapore, earned doctorates in molecular microbiology from Kazan Federal University in Russia and molecular cardiology from the Justus Liebig University of Giessen in Germany, court records show.

He was also purportedly married to two women at once: one from Mexico and another from Russia.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents arrested Cabrera before he boarded a flight to Mexico City on Feb. 16, 2020, at Miami International Airport. While agents questioned him, he said he was traveling with his wife from Mexico, and his spying in Miami was related to his wife in Russia, according to the Feb. 18, 2020 complaint.

Cabrera will be deported at the end of his prison term, prosecutors said.

Read the criminal complaint here:


About the Authors:

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.