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Grand Jury Charges Alleged Cuban Smuggle

July 22, 2006

MIAMI (AP) _ Three men accused of organizing a deadly migrant smuggling trip from Cuba were charged Friday with manslaughter and other offenses in a 68-count grand jury indictment.

The indictment from a Key West grand jury came one day after 28 Cubans who took part in the July 8 voyage were brought ashore as material witnesses in the case.

The new charges against each of the three men include one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Anay Machado Gonzalez, 24. She hit her head when the 36-foot speedboat she was aboard ignored Coast Guard orders to stop and tried to ram the vessel.

The three were also charged with conspiracy to smuggle aliens for profit, encouraging aliens to attempt the trip resulting in death and failure to obey Coast Guard orders. Two were also charged with unauthorized entry in Cuban waters and one was charged with giving false information during the Coast Guard boarding.

According to the indictment, Heinrich Castillo Diaz, 28, and Rolando Gonzalez Delgado, 20, piloted the boat from Key Largo to Cuba, where Yamil Gonzalez Rodriguez, 32, met them with the Cuban migrants.

The Coast Guard intercepted them about four miles south of Boca Chica in the Florida Keys. The Coast Guard fired two shots to disable the speedboat’s engines.

The Gonzalez Delgado’s attorney, Oscar Arroyave, said Friday that his client will plead not guilty next week. Attorneys for the other two men did not return telephone calls Friday.

The rare decision to bring the migrants ashore ensures they’ll be allowed to remain in the U.S. Under federal policy, most Cubans intercepted at sea are returned home, while those who reach U.S. soil are allowed to stay.

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