Bail Denied for Accused Cuban Spy

Catherine Wilson - September 19, 1998


-- An alleged Cuban spy accused of taking the identity of a deceased Texas baby to set up an espionage ring in the United States was ordered held without bail.

Also held Friday was a boat pilot who allegedly spied on anti-Castro Cuban exile groups.

The two suspects are among 10 people accused in what the FBI says is the largest Cuban spy ring ever uncovered in the United States since Fidel Castro came to power nearly 40 years ago.

All suspects are charged with trying to penetrate U.S. military bases, infiltrate anti-Castro exile groups and manipulate U.S. media and political organizations.

Ruben Campa is accused of obtaining an identity here by using a 1965 birth certificate of a San Antonio-born boy who died at 7 months.

When arrested, two notepads were found in Campa's wallet referring to aircraft spotted by a co-defendant who was a maintenance worker at Boca Chica Naval Air Station in Key West, according to prosecutors.

The notes contained an aircraft count: four E-2 spy planes equipped with AWACS dishes, 18 F-18 fighters, six F-14 fighters and 10 F-5 fighters.

"This defendant has known of the entire scope of the operation," Assistant U.S. Attorney Guy Lewis said in arguing for detention until trial.

Using Campa's code name, Lewis said, "Vicky plays a lead role in this entire matter."

Public Defender Joaquin Mendez said the allegations against Campa were "too general and too broad."

Campa has been identified by the FBI as a Cuban intelligence officer, one of three charged in the case. He arrived in the United States last summer to assign missions to subagents and report on their progress, Lewis said.

Meanwhile, bail was also denied Alejandro Alonso, a Des Moines, Iowa-born U.S. citizen accused of infiltrating the exile group Democracy Movement and reporting on its protest flotillas near Cuban waters.

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