South Florida Sun-Sentinel
June 19, 2002

Judge won't let Cuban spy suspect post bond

                   By Jody A. Benjamin
                   Staff Writer

                   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.

                   Conspiracy alleged

                   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
                   their case."