MIAMI, CMC Ė A Cuban man faces 35 years in jail for violating United States laws on the trade and economic embargo against Havana.
Pedro Adriano Borges, 68, is in jail in South Florida awaiting a US federal trial under a 1997 indictment, charging that he and four other men illegally shipped 18 containers of goods to Cuba between 1993 and 1996.
US prosecutors charge that the goods included spices and mayonnaise, as well as light bulbs and diapers.
According to court documents, the recipients in Cuba paid US$93,000 for the shipments.
Prosecutors said Borges fled to Costa Rica three years before those charges were filed, breaking his parole on a prior charge of money laundering in New Jersey.
He was detained in Panama in November and extradited to the US.
Itís reported that Borgesí possible jail term includes 10 years for violating the Trading With the Enemy Act and other embargo laws, 20 years for helping to launder money that went from Cuba to Miami to pay for the shipments and five years for conspiracy to launder money.
Three of the five men accused in the scheme have pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 18 months in jail each, including Javier Ferreiro Parga, a Spanish businessman living in Havana who was the buyer of the goods.
A fourth fought the charges in a trial and was acquitted, prosecutors said.
Borges was named in six of 28 counts in a 1997 indictment, alleging that the five accused men had arranged to ship the containers to Cuba with fraudulent documents.
Prosecutors said the accused had indicated that the goods were instead destined for Curacao.
Ferreiro pleaded guilty to violating the embargo and testified against fellow Spanish businessman Juan Torres Manzano, prosecutors said.
In exchange, prosecutors dropped the money laundering charges against him, and he served 16 months of his 18-month sentence.
Torres fought the charges, and was acquitted. Ferreiro and Torres were deported to Spain. Defendants Kenneth Broder and Carlos Fernandez also pleaded guilty.