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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Charter Captain Arrested and Charged Federally with Misconduct or Neglect that Resulted in Death

Yesterday, Mauricio Alvarez, 49, of Miami, Florida, was ordered to be detained by United States Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman on a criminal complaint charging him with misconduct or neglect of a ship officer that resulted in the death of an individual, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1115.

Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney of the Southern District of Florida, Thomas Robarge, Special Agent in Charge, United States Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS), Southeast Region, and Major Alfredo Escanio, Regional Commander, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Division of Law Enforcement, South B Region, made the announcement.

According to the criminal complaint, on April 1, 2018, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) received a report from a Miami-Dade 911 operator that a person was trapped under the motor yacht (M/Y) MIAMI VICE, near Monument Island.  USCG and local law enforcement units arrived at the scene of the reported incident and located M/Y MIAMI VICE adjacent to Monument Island.  An investigation by FWC revealed M/Y MIAMI VICE was chartered for a four-hour period on April 1, 2018 and departed a marina with approximately seven passengers.  The complaint alleges that Alvarez was employed as the vessel captain of M/Y MIAMI VICE and that he had a first mate on board the vessel.  M/Y MIAMI VICE had been chartered for a four-hour trip for $3,000 and Alvarez was to be paid $150 per hour.

According to the complaint, two passengers were reportedly in the water in close proximity to the stern of M/Y MIAMI VICE when Alvarez engaged the engines of M/Y MIAMI VICE in reverse.  Preliminary information indicates that one of the individuals, who was swimming in the water, was struck by M/Y MIAMI VICE’s propellers and killed.  The complaint alleges that Alvarez, as the operator of the M/Y MIAMI VICE, could not see the stern of the vessel or ensure the safety of any remaining swimmers in the water while engaging the engines from this location without assistance from another individual.  The complaint further alleges that Alvarez did not have a United States Captain license at the time of the incident.

Alvarez was arrested on April 6, 2018 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, as he attempted to board an overseas flight.  The next hearing is scheduled for April 20, 2018.

The charge of misconduct or neglect of a ship officer carries a maximum potential sentence of ten years’ imprisonment.

Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of CGIS and FWC in this matter.  This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily A. Rose.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or on


Updated April 12, 2018