Lawyer: Accused spy to plead guilty
BY GAIL EPSTEIN NIEVES
Accused Cuban spy Marisol Gari, half of a husband-and-wife team arrested in Orlando, will plead guilty to a single spying-related charge next week as part of a plea agreement offered by federal prosecutors, her lawyer said Thursday.
``I got the discovery in the case, I looked at it, [the plea offer] is a good deal, and it's what she wants to do,'' said Miami attorney Louis Casuso.
Gari, 42, is scheduled to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent for Cuba, Casuso said. She faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
In turn, prosecutors will drop a second count of acting as an unregistered Cuban agent, Casuso said. That charge carries a maximum 10-year sentence.
Gari and her husband, George Gari, 41, were arrested last month and accused of being agents for the Cuban Directorate of Intelligence. The couple allegedly belonged to Cuba's La Red Avispa, or Wasp Network, which the FBI dismantled with 10 arrests in September 1998.
Five high-ranking intelligence agents from the Wasp Network were convicted on federal spying-related charges in June, including three who were convicted of espionage conspiracy. Those men are awaiting sentencing. According to their indictment, the Garis reported to two of them: Ramón Labañino and Fernando González.
The Garis -- who used the code names Luis and Margot -- allegedly assisted in the ring's two primary goals: trying to infiltrate the U.S. Southern Command headquarters in West Miami-Dade and to penetrate the inner circles of the Cuban American National Foundation, a prominent Cuban exile group.
But Marisol Gari's lawyer said she was not as culpable as the convicted men.
He said the plea is scheduled for next Thursday before U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro-Benages. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Buckner could not be reached for comment.
The Garis moved to Orlando 18 months ago after living in Miami for about eight years. She worked for the U.S. Postal Service for part of that time.
In Miami, the indictment states, Marisol Gari helped keep tabs
on security at the CANF headquarters and helped manage another agent in
his bid to get a job at
Southcom, which oversees American military operations in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Gari also is accused of preparing a report for her Cuban bosses comparing the costs of U.S. mail service, Federal Express and other mail handlers.
Elizabeth Delgado, a lawyer who represents George Gari, did not
return phone calls seeking comment. Casuso said that George Gari has been
offered the same plea deal as his wife.