Individual Pleads Guilty to Acting Within the United States on Behalf of Russian Government
A Mexican national, who was residing in Singapore, pleaded guilty yesterday to acting within the United States on behalf of a foreign government without notifying the Attorney General.
According to court documents, Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes, 36, acted under the direction and control of an individual he believed to be a Russian government official. Instructed by this Russian official, Fuentes, a Mexican citizen who has spent significant time in Russia, arranged for an intermediary to lease a unit in a specific residential building in Miami-Dade County, Florida, where a specified 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 specified U.S. person’s car, and to provide this information to the Russian official upon his next trip to Russia.
Fuentes’s travel companion, at his request, took a photo of the specified 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 is scheduled to be sentenced on May 17, in Miami, and faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
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, and Director of Field Operations Vernon T Foret of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Miami Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI and CBP are investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Thakur for the Southern District of Florida and Trial Attorney Matthew J. McKenzie of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the case.