Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, 36, a Mexican citizen who had resided in Singapore and spent significant time in Russia, was sentenced yesterday in the Southern District of Florida to four years and one day in prison for acting within the United States on behalf of a foreign government without notifying the Attorney General.
According to court documents, since 2019, Fuentes acted under the direction and control of someone he believed to be a Russian government official. Instructed by this Russian official, Fuentes arranged for an intermediary to lease a unit in a residential building in Miami-Dade County where a U.S. person, who had previously provided information about the Russian government to the U.S. government, resided.
Furthermore, at the direction of the same Russian official, Fuentes traveled to Miami in February 2020 to obtain the license plate number and parking location of the U.S. person’s car to provide to the Russian official upon his next trip to Russia.
Fuentes’s travel companion, at his request, took a photo of the U.S. person’s car. A WhatsApp message from Fuentes’s travel companion to Fuentes contained a close-up photograph of the specified U.S. person’s car. The manner in which Fuentes communicated with the Russian government official and his undertakings in this case are consistent with the tactics of the Russian intelligence services for spotting, assessing, recruiting and handling intelligence assets and sources.
Fuentes had not notified the U.S. Attorney General, as required by law, that he was acting in the United States as an agent of the Russian government.
Fuentes pleaded guilty in February 2022. U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks for the Southern District of Florida imposed the sentence, which included an order that the defendant be removed from the United States to Mexico promptly upon his release from confinement.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, and Director of Field Operations Vernon T. Foret of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Miami Field Office made the announcement.
FBI and CBP investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Thakur of the Southern District of Florida and Trial Attorney Matthew J. McKenzie of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section prosecuted the case.