A Mexican national is accused of working on behalf of Russian Federation while allegedly trying to conduct surveillance of a USA government source in Miami, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.
Hector Alejandro CabreraFuentes, a biotech researcher residing in Singapore, was charged with failing to register as a foreign agent in a scheme that allegedly saw the Mexican national attempt to surveil a confidential source who had "previously provided information" to the US government about Russian intelligence activities "implicating national security interests".
A security guard noticed the incident and approached the Mexican's vehicle to question why he had entered the building.
Messages on Fuentes' phone revealed that the Russian official initiated and directed meetings.
On Feb. 13, Fuentes traveled to Miami from Mexico City and the following day, he and his wife used a rental auto to drive into the residency of the government source, entering the premises by tailgating another vehicle in order to gain access. During questioning, Cabrera Fuentes reportedly said he was following directions from a Russian official.
Hector Alejandro CabreraFuentes, 35, confessed to being "directed by a Russian government official" to spy in the U.S. following several trips to the Soviet Union to meet with his handler, the Department of Justice said.
Days later on February 16, Fuentes and his wife arrived at Miami International Airport where they planned to fly to Mexico City but were stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection who inspected the wife's phone.
In March 2019, the complaint reads, Fuentes's second family took a trip to Russian Federation. But as they tried to leave to return to Germany, prosecutors say, "Russian customs officials would not allow the family to depart Russia". Fuentes then allegedly traveled to Russian Federation and discussed the arrangements.
The complaint says that Fuentes recognized the official.
Officials are holding Fuentes without bond.
According to court documents, Hector Alejandro CabreraFuentes, a Mexican citizen residing in Singapore, was allegedly recruited by a Russian government official in 2019 and tasked with locating and obtaining the vehicle license plate number of a US government source. During the meeting, the official provided Fuentes with a physical description of a U.S. Government source's vehicle. Fuentes was then instructed to meet the Russian official again in April or May this year to update the latter on the results of his search. This plate was from the vehicle belonging to a confidential US government source who had been giving information about the Russian Intelligence Service, according to a release on February 19 from the US Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs. But Fuentes appears to have disobeyed that order, giving Border Patrol officers something to find before he left the country.
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