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Couple in Spy Ring Sentenced

February 3, 2000

MIAMI (AP) _ A couple in a spy ring were sentenced to more than three years in prison for attempting to infiltrate U.S. military installations for the Cuban government.

``I ask forgiveness from this country for all the opportunities it gave me and for what I’ve done,″ said Amarylis Silverio Santos, 37, who was given a 3 1/2-year sentence Wednesday. Her husband, 38-year-old Joseph Santos, was sentenced to four years.

Authorities said the couple attempted to infiltrate the U.S. Southern Command, which controls U.S. military activity in Latin America. Although State Department officials have said their efforts were largely unsuccessful, the couple filed at least one report.

They pleaded guilty in October 1998 to one count each of conspiracy to act as an agent for a foreign government without notifying the U.S. attorney general. They faced a maximum of five years in prison.

In all, 14 people were accused of trying to penetrate U.S. military bases, infiltrate anti-Castro exile groups and manipulate U.S. media and political organizations. Authorities describe the spy ring as the largest Cuban espionage operation uncovered in the United States in decades.

Three others besides the couple have pleaded guilty; others are scheduled to go on trial in May.

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