Mexican scientist that turned out to be a Russian spy was sentenced to four years in prison

Hector Cabrera Fuentes (Photo: Miami Herald)

A Mexican scientist turned bungling Russian spy was sentenced on Tuesday, June 21st, in a Miami-Dade federal courtroom to four years and one day for acting as an unregistered foreign agent. Hector Cabrera Fuentes, 37, who pleaded guilty to the charge in February, has already served more than two years.

Cabrera was arrested on Feb. 16, 2020, by FBI agents at Miami International Airport as he was preparing to return to Mexico. Two days earlier, he and his Mexican wife were spotted conducting clumsy cloak-and-dagger surveillance on an FBI informant residing in the Miami area. Neither the target of the surveillance nor the location of the home has been identified.

On the night of the surveillance, the pair drove to the informant’s apartment complex, identified his car and took a photo of the license tag for sharing with the doctor’s handler. Since his arrest, Cabrera has been held in Miami’s Federal Detention Center.

Cabrera apologized and said that he was speaking from the heart and that he now knows what he did was wrong. “I have zero interest in getting involved in anything like that from now on,” Cabrera said. He said the episode was a life lesson, instilling in him the realization that “freedom comes first and the family, too.” Cabrera was leading a double life — as a cardiac scientist and a foreign agent at the time of his arrest. He also had a complicated personal life, being married to a woman in Russia in addition to the Mexican wife, according to court records.

The Russian wife was having trouble gaining permission to leave Russia, which may have been a way to apply leverage on Cabrera. A Russian official, not identified in court, directed Cabrera to target the Miami informant and take photos of his car, license plate and parking location. The target was believed to be providing intelligence to the FBI on Russian spying activities in South Florida, records show.

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