Smugglers make quick guilty pleas

November 3, 2005

Miami Herald- Jay Weaver

Two Miami men pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to smuggling 29 Cubans in a speedboat that overturned and claimed the life of a young boy who got trapped beneath the capsized vessel.

Rather than face trial, Alexander Gil Rodriguez and Luis Manuel Taboada-Cabrera cut quick plea deals with federal prosecutors, who didn't have enough evidence to charge them with the Oct. 13 death of 6-year-old Julian Villasuso.

The men, Cuban immigrants who arrived in South Florida during the past year, could face up to six years in prison at a Jan. 24 sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore. The boy's death could be a factor in the sentencing of Rodriguez, 25, and Taboada-Cabrera, 28.

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