WASHINGTON— Two associates of Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles have pleaded guilty in the Western District of Texas to charges of obstruction of justice in connection with the U.S. government’s investigation of Posada Carriles, Michael J. Mullaney, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas announced today.
Osvaldo Mitat, age 65 and Santiago Alvarez, age 66, both natives of Cuba, each entered pleas of guilty today to a one-count superseding criminal information that charged each defendant with obstruction of justice. The plea occurred before U.S. District Judge David Briones. Each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, three years supervised release and a $100 special assessment. Sentencing for both has been scheduled for Feb. 1, 2008.
According to the statement of facts agreed upon by each defendant, on or about Dec. 18, 2006, a federal grand jury in the Western District of Texas subpoenaed both Mitat and Alvarez to testify in the course of its investigation into allegedly false statements made to the government made by Posada Carriles about his unlawful entry to the United States and other matters.
On or about Jan. 11, 2007, each was granted immunity from prosecution from any self-incriminating statements and each was ordered to testify by the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Texas. Not withstanding the grant of immunity and court order compelling their testimony, the defendants refused to testify before the grand jury about the subject of its investigation. By doing so, Mitat and Alvarez did unlawfully and corruptly influence, obstruct and impede, and endeavor to influence, obstruct, and impede the due administration of justice.
In September 2006, Mitat pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Florida to conspiracy to possess prohibited firearms, while Alvarez pleaded guilty in the same district to a multi-object conspiracy which included possession of prohibited firearms and false immigration documents. Mitat was ultimately sentenced to 24 months imprisonment, while Alvarez was ultimately sentenced to 30 months imprisonment in connection with these guilty pleas. The investigation into this matter is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The case is being prosecuted by Michael J. Mullaney, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas for purposes of this prosecution, as well as Trial Attorneys John W. Van Lonkhuyzen and Paul Ahern, from the Counter-Terrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.