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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 11, 2022

Cuban citizen sentenced to prison after ramming FBI security gate

HOUSTON – A 39-year-old man has been ordered to prison for illegally breaching federal security and gaining entry to the FBI building in Houston, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Nestor Mariano Vidal Batista pleaded guilty Feb 24. 2022.

Today, U.S. Circuit Judge Gregg Costa, sitting by designation, ordered Vidal to serve 14 months in federal prison. Not a U.S. citizen, Vidal is expected to face removal proceedings following his imprisonment. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence that Batista had previously been convicted of alien smuggling. In handing down the sentence, the court noted how his actions posed a risk to others.

On June 23, 2021, Batista stole a Dodge Ram 2500 pick-up truck shortly before attempting to lodge an in-person complaint at the FBI office in Houston. Upon his arrival, security referred him to local authorities. Batista then re-entered the truck, circled the area and tried to force entry. He sped forward and crashed the truck into the front security gates of the FBI building. Shortly thereafter, he was able to exit the truck and enter the visiting area in the lobby. Authorities then subdued him and took him into custody.

As a result of his actions, he caused $7,929.90 in damages.

Vidal has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future. 

The FBI conducted the investigation with the assistance of Houston Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Porto prosecuted the case.

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Updated March 11, 2022