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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Marisol Gari released from US custody

Posted September 25, 2005 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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BY LUISA YANEZ | Miami Herald

An Orlando woman convicted of spying for the Cuban government and recently detained for possible deportation to Cuba, was suddenly released Monday by immigration officials and allowed to return home, her Miami attorney said.

Marisol Gari, 46, had been linked to the infamous Wasp Network uncovered in Miami-Dade by the FBI in 1998. Soon after her arrest in 2001, she agreed to plead guilty to a spying-related charge and was sentenced to 3 years in federal prison.

On Monday, The Herald published an article about Gari’s detention. ‘‘I think that’s why she was released, I can’t think of any other reason,’’ said her attorney, Louis Casuso. His client, he said, was driven back to her house in Orlando.

‘‘Her status now is that she’s deportable, but she’s home,’’ Casuso said.
A spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement declined to comment on the case Monday.

Casuso claims Gari would face torture in Cuba if forced to return.

Normally, U.S. immigration authorities decline to expel Cuban nationals to Cuba, or if they do, Cuba refuses to take back deported Cubans.

Gari’s latest immigration problems began two weeks ago when she was taken into custody and plans got underway for her apparent deportation.

Gari had completed her prison sentence late last year and was eventually freed on her own recognizance. News of potential deportation seemed harsh because she had apparently struck a deal with federal agents in the Wasp case.

Sources familiar with the case told The Herald that Gari’s sealed plea agreement four years ago called for her cooperation with federal prosecutors in their continuing investigation. Casuso declined to discuss how Gari assisted U.S. authorities. But because of her cooperation, she would likely face retribution in Cuba if she was sent to the island, he said.

Gari and her American husband, George, were arrested in August 2001 in Orlando, where they had moved from Miami, and charged in connection with the Wasp Network’s efforts to infiltrate the Miami-Dade County-based U.S. Southern Command and the Cuban American National Foundation.

George Gari also agreed to plead guilty and received seven years in prison.

When Marisol Gari’s prison time was up last year, she was taken into custody by ICE and placed in deportation proceedings. She was initially held in Key West, where an immigration judge on Oct. 4 ordered her removal to Cuba.

Marisol was released under supervision after more than three months in immigration custody. She was told to obtain travel documents to Cuba through the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, Casuso said. She has refused to pursue the paperwork.

Herald staff writer Alfonso Chardy contributed to this report.

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