Miami Spy-Hunting

February 19, 2000 - Miami Herald

The FBI's first major cracking of a Cuban spy ring came Sept. 12, 1998 when teams of agents swept through South Florida in the predawn hours and arrested 10 members. Five have since pleaded guilty and turned state's evidence. They are:

Alejandro Alonso, 42, who was sentenced Jan. 28 to seven years in prison. He was assigned to infiltrate Ramon Saul Sanchez's Democracy Movement.

Amarylis Silverio Santos, 39, and her husband, Joseph Santos, 39, sentenced Feb. 4 to 3 1/2 and 4 years in prison, respectively. They had been assigned to infiltrate the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command. They failed.

Nilo Hernandez, 46, and his wife, Linda, 43, who have yet to be sentenced. He counted aircraft at Homestead Air Reserve Base; she monitored activities of Alpha 66.

Five more prisoners from the ring face trial in U.S. District Court. Postponed several times, their latest trial date is May 22. They include:

Gerardo Hernandez, 33, the alleged spymaster who lived in Miami as Manuel Viramontez and is accused of conspiracy to commit murder in the February 1996 Brothers to the Rescue shootdown.

John Doe II, 32, who lived in Broward County under the alias Luis Medina, and with the three following co-defendants is accused of being part of the spy ring that snooped on military facilities and exile organizations in South Florida.

Antonio Guerrero, 42, a former janitor at the Boca Chica Naval Station near Key West.

Rene Gonzalez, 44, a former Brothers to the Rescue pilot who had joined Ramon Saul Sanchez's Democracy Movement at the time of his arrest.

John Doe III, 35, who went by the alias of Ruben Campa.

Four other accused spy-ring members were indicted later, and are now considered fugitives thought to be living in Cuba. They are:

Juan Pablo Roque, a one-time well-known Cuban defector who double-defected back to Havana on the eve of the Brothers to the Rescue shootdown.

Albert Ruiz, who allegedly instructed Roque and Rene Gonzalez to gather information on the Brothers to the Rescue flights. He is believed to have left the United States.

Ricardo Villareal and Remijio Luna, described as spy ring agents who left the United States prior to their indictments.

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