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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Puerto Rico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 18, 2014

Federal Civil Complaint Against FBI Agents Is Dismissed

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On September 17, 2014, after three days of jury trial, U.S. Magistrate Judge Camille Velez-Rivé dismissed the civil claims filed by Plaintiff Carlos Hernandez-Cuevas alleging false arrest and malicious prosecution against FBI Special Agents William Taylor and Steven Martz, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.

Plaintiff Hernandez-Cuevas alleged that after his arrest in Puerto Rico he spent three months detained in a federal penitentiary in New Jersey, where he was charged with money laundering in connection to drug trafficking activities. The criminal charges were later dismissed by the Government. In her dismissal, U.S. Magistrate Judge Camille Velez Rivé determined that the final disposition in the civil case should not go to the jury based on insufficient evidence.  Judge Velez-Rivé, analyzed the evidence presented at trial and noted, in pertinent part that:

“Testimonies show that there was enough evidence through the investigation which led the agents to reasonably and logically believe that Plaintiff was a courier on July 20, 2004. As such, there was probable cause to arrest Plaintiff Hernàndez-Cuevas based on the totality of the circumstances, the evidence collected at the time including the information provided by the confidential informant and other evidence as testified, and based on the collective knowledge of all the agents who participated in the Paracash investigation.”

“The dismissal of this case upholds the legitimate actions undertaken by federal law enforcement officers during the investigation which led to Hernandez-Cuevas’ arrest.” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.

The government attorneys in this case were Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Bhatia-Gauthier and Trial Attorney Leah Taylor from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Constitutional Torts Branch.  
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Updated April 14, 2015