LAWFUEL – US Legal News – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Rear Admiral David W. Kunkel, Commander 7th Coast Guard District, announce that defendant Nelson Reyes was found guilty on Tuesday, April 3, 2007, following a two day jury trial in Key West, Florida.
Nelson Reyes was found guilty of obstructing a boarding under 18 USC 2237(a)(2)(A) and unauthorized entry into Cuban waters under 33 CFR §107. This is the first conviction utilizing the charge of obstructing a boarding under 18 USC 2237(a)(2)(A) since the legislation was enacted in March of 2006.
The case originated from a July 19, 2006 interdiction by the Coast Guard cutter, “Matagorda”, approximately 70 miles south of Long Key, Florida. At approximately 10 p.m., a “go-fast” type vessel was initially spotted heading north from Cuban waters by the Matagorda’s crew. Once the Matagorda arrived on scene, the go-fast fled into Cuban waters. The go-fast reappeared several hours later, but immediately retreated back into Cuban waters a second time when it observed the Matagorda lying in wait. Several more passed when the go-fast departed Cuban waters for a third time. This time, the Matagorda positioned itself between Cuban waters and the go-fast which prevented the go-fast from re-entering Cuban waters. A chase ensued and as the go-fast attempted to get away, it experienced engine troubles and was ultimately boarded by a small boat launched from the Matagorda.
Once the Coast Guard officers boarded the vessel, the crewman on board, defendant Reyes, resisted by biting, kicking, and punching two of the officers. Ultimately, the defendant was subdued and taken ashore.
Mr. Acosta commends the investigative efforts of the United States Cost Guard, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The case was tried by Assistant United States Attorney, Scott Ray, and Special Assistant United States Attorney, Paul Lehmann.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.