The Miami News
April 21, 1982

Man held in grenade attack linked to alleged Cuban spy

Miami News Reporter

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement found itself in a dilemma when deciding whether to charge a Miami man suspected of bombing a Little Havana car dealership with a Russian-made hand grenade.

The man, identified as Lazaro Visuna, 28, was about to be released from prison on unrelated charges. State agents were afraid he might flee the country.

But charging Visuna with the bombing also created a problem: It meant revealing his name. The FDLE agents, who had been protecting his identity, feared his life would be in danger.

The FDLE decided to charge him.

"You're damned if you do and damned if you don't," said an investigator close to the case yesterday. The investigator provided details of the FDLE's dilemma on the condition that he not be identified.

Visuna, who is being held at the Federal Correctional Institute in South Dade, was accused of throwing the grenade at a green Buick parked at Eloy Motors, 1479 SW 6th St. on Oct. 2, 1980, according to the FDLE. He was charged Friday with possessing, throwing, placing or discharging a destructive device, a felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Visuna, who was informed of the new charge yesterday, is being held in a dormitory-style cell with dozens of other prisoners, according to a jail official.

The investigator didn't know if Visuna would be put in protective custody now that his name has been revealed.

The Russian-made RGD-5 anti-personnel hand grenade is one of 240 brought to Miami by a suspected Cuban spy, the investigator said. They have been used in at least two other Miami bombings. The investigator declined to say how Visuna got the grenade.

The FDLE first learned of the Cuban spy on Jan. 13 when his former bodyguard showed two of the grenades to FDLE agents and a Drug Enforcement Administration investigator.

The FDLE agents said the bodyguard, who has since been jailed, decided to turn himself in after refusing his boss' order to toss one of the grenades into a crowd of elderly men at Domino Park in Little Havana.

The grenades, which hold nine ounces of TNT, were made by the Russians in 1976, according to the agents. They were given to the Cuban spy by the government of Fidel Castro for use in El Salvador, but the spy brought them to the U.S. instead.

The agents said they know who the Cuban spy is "but we can't connect him with anything. We even know where the grenades are probably hidden, but we can't get at them."

Besides the Eloy Motors bombing, the grenades were used Sept, 29,1981 at the El Morocco bar at 2898 NW 7th Ave., where one man was injured and several pieces of furniture were destroyed, and on Feb. 22, 1982 at the home of Manuel Lorenzo at 2470 NW 16th Ter., where several windows were broken and a car was damaged.

The agents said the bodyguard told them of another bombing, but they have been unable to confirm it.

The bodyguard told them he didn't know the reason for the bombings. He said he just did what he was told.