Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes was allegedly recruited by a Russian contact and flew into Miami International Airport last Thursday to locate and get the license plate number of a vehicle used by a U.S. government source.
His Russian handler had given Fuentes the assignment when he flew to Russia earlier this month, a DOJ statement said.
Fuentes was spotted by security guards when he located the car by tailgating another vehicle into a condo complex where the source lives. Fuentes’ wife took a photo of the license place shortly before they were asked to leave the premises.
The suspect was also supposed to meet his Russian contact in Russia again in April or May to relay the information.
Investigators stopped Fuentes and his wife at the Miami airport Sunday as they attempted to fly back to Mexico and found a recently deleted photo of the license plate on his wife’s phone.
He then admitted he asked her to take the photo, the release said.
Investigators said they also found incriminating WhatsApp messages on his phone with his handler about the assignment.
Fuentes admitted the Russian contact initiated and directed the meetings, the DOJ said.
Fuentes was allegedly recruited last year and told to rent an apartment in Miami under a fake name.
He has been charged with acting within the United States on behalf of a foreign government, without notifying the attorney general, and conspiracy to do the same, the DOJ statement said.
Fuentes was booked into a Federal Detention Center in Miami without bond as he’s considered a flight risk, Miami FOX affiliate WSVN-TV reported.
He currently lives in Singapore.
Fuentes is scheduled to appear in court Friday.