Judge won't let Cuban spy suspect post bond
By Jody A. Benjamin
MIAMI · An immigration judge sided with prosecutors Tuesday, ruling
that an accused Cuban spy is not entitled to bond because of the
serious charges against him.
Lawyers for Juan Emilio Aboy admit that their client, while employed
as a commercial diver, plunged into a vat in a nuclear reactor at
Turkey Point and installed drainage pipe around Miami International
Airport. But they say that does not prove Aboy, who protests his
innocence, was also working as a spy for the Cuban government.
He has not been charged criminally. Held since his May 30 arrest on
immigration charges, Aboy has yet to be confronted with the
evidence against him.
"I am defending Juan Aboy's right to be faced with the evidence against
him," said Grisel Ybarra, an immigration attorney known for briefly
going to jail during Miami protests on behalf of Elián González. "If we
allow this to go by, then this becomes a witch hunt."
During a bond hearing Tuesday morning at Krome, prosecutors from
the Immigration and Naturalization Service did not reveal what proof
of spying they have against Aboy, 41. But they placed cartons of
documents before Judge Neale S. Foster and said they would show
he worked as a courier for the Wasp Network, a group of spies
feeding information to the Cuban government.
Ten Wasp members are serving time in federal prisons after criminal
convictions. But Aboy's fate will be determined in immigration court.
Aboy faces charges that he violated immigration law by spying on
the United States, failing to register as someone trained in
espionage by a foreign government, and omitting such information
when he successfully applied in 1996 to become a permanent
"He had training in espionage," said INS legal counsel Dan Vara, who
wants Aboy deported.
In court, INS prosecutors said that Aboy passed information to
members of the Wasp Network in cylinders, according to Ybarra.
The government also told the court that another member of the spy
ring will identify Aboy as part of the conspiracy.
Another preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday. Aboy is being
held at the Broward County Jail in Fort Lauderdale. When he is
brought to Krome for hearings, Aboy is put in solitary confinement.
On Tuesday, after a 45-minute hearing, Aboy's attorney said the
government has known of his background in the Cuban military for
years. Federal authorities have been watching Aboy since 1998.
Ybarra said CIA and Army intelligence agents interviewed her client
several times during the nine months he spent at the U.S. Naval
Station at Guantanamo Bay after he fled Cuba on a raft in 1994.
Aboy told agents then that he was a captain in the Cuban navy
who had been trained in Russia as a diver, she said.
"Yet they still allowed him to come to this country," said Ybarra.
After coming to Miami, Aboy soon found work with Bob Weihe
Commercial Diving, a company that has worked at state and federal
As recently as May 17 Aboy, in a new job as a truck driver,
delivered miscellaneous equipment to a U.S. Naval base in Norfolk,
Va., and another base in Key Point, Washington, according to
documents released by Ybarra.
Still, the attorney questioned why, if the government has suspected
Aboy of being a Cuban agent since 1998, he was not arrested long
before he gained access to secure areas such as the nuclear plant
or the naval bases. A spokeswoman for the FBI said the agency had
no comment on the matter.
A chance to explain
Ybarra said her immediate goal was to ensure that her client
receives a fair chance to explain himself. But she admitted that for
the time being, Aboy is probably safer behind bars than released to
the streets, where he might face community hostility.
"If he came to spy on us and to do us harm, then, of course, he has
to be taken away from here," she said. "But they still have to prove