April 25, 2002

Former Cuban Intelligence Officer Appears in South African Court

                                           JOHANNESBURG, April 24 (Xinhuanet) -- A former Cuban intelligence
                                        officer, who was arrested on an Interpol warrant, appeared in a
                                        local court here on Wednesday.
                                           Nelson Pablo Yester-Garrido was arrested on Tuesday in Hyde
                                        Park in Johannesburg allegedly driving a stolen vehicle. He is
                                        being held at the Pretoria Central Prison.
                                           Yester-Garrido was remanded in custody to May 3 when he would
                                        face an extradition hearing. His case was postponed pending
                                        further investigations and for him to obtain legal representation.
                                           He is wanted on racketeering and drug trafficking charges,
                                        including conspiracy to import or distribute narcotics and the use
                                        of communication facilities to commit a felony.
                                           On Tuesday, United States embassy spokeswoman Judy Moon said
                                        the Yester-Garrido investigation was an international manhunt
                                        involving special agents from various U.S. government departments.
                                           Moon said Yester-Garrido was allegedly a member of an
                                        organization that supervised and controlled the shipment and
                                        delivery of cocaine and laundered the money received from the
                                           The trafficking took place between South America, the United
                                        States and countries within the former Soviet Union (especially
                                        Russia), Moon said.
                                           Yester-Garrido was previously indicted in Miami in 1991 for
                                        racketeering and conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
                                           He fled the Florida area after violating his U.S. federal
                                        probation, which was based on his conviction for possession of a
                                        false U.S. passport.
                                           He first entered South Africa in 1997.