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Posted January 24, 2006 by mattlawrence in Cuba Human Rights

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Posted on Tue, Jan. 24, 2006

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Two Miami men will be sentenced today in federal court after pleading guilty to smuggling 29 Cubans in a speedboat that overturned and claimed the life of a young boy who got trapped beneath the capsized vessel.

In November, Alexander Gil Rodriguez and Luis Manuel Taboada-Cabrera cut quick plea deals with federal prosecutors, who didn’t have enough evidence to charge them with the Oct. 13 death of 6-year-old Julian Villasuso.

The men, Cuban immigrants themselves, could face up to six years in prison at their sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore. The boy’s death could be a factor in the sentencing of Rodriguez, 25, and Taboada-Cabrera, 28.

At sentencing, attorney Steven Amster said his clients plan to express their remorse for the boy’s death, which they viewed as a tragic accident.

Interim U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta condemned the crime and similar illicit smuggling operations.

Smuggling operations have contributed to the sharp rise in Cuban migrations across the Florida Straits, U.S. authorities said. The number of Cubans intercepted at sea doubled last year over 2004.

The smuggling-conspiracy prosecution stems from an incident that occurred during the early morning of Oct. 13, when Coast Guard officials tracked down a Florida-registered speedboat, carrying the 29 Cuban migrants, about 52 miles south of Key West. After fleeing the Coast Guard, the boat flipped over in the Florida Straits.

Authorities discovered the boy beneath the 33-foot boat after rescuers pulled to safety the other passengers, including the boy’s parents and the smugglers. Julian’s parents were allowed into the United States.


2006 MiamiHerald.com and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on January 27, 2006 by ROLO

    In the end they got 6 year plus 39 months,because the Judge
    take very into account the death of the innocent and sacrificed
    cuban boy,i feel indignant,it clear to me that the smugglers
    these and those deserve is life in prison or death penalty,
    no lesser than that.

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