12 charged with smuggling stolen boats to Mexico

Naples Daily News
Posted September 24, 2010 at 5:07 p.m.
updated September 24, 2010 at 5:51 p.m.

FORT MYERS — The U.S. District Court unsealed an indictment on Friday charging 12 men in an alleged boat smuggling ring that stretched from Marco Island to Pinellas County.

The men are accused of stealing multiple high-powered boats and then transporting them to Mexico. All are charged with conspiracy to transport a stolen vehicle into a foreign country, which is punishable by a maximum of five years in federal prison. The indictment also names the suspects individually in nine counts of transporting a stolen vehicle into a foreign country, punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Four of the men were arrested in Marco Island in July. Officers said Mayque Aguilera Pulido, 30, Angel Alvarez Esquijarosa, 35, Douglas Gainza Cespedes, 35, and Darinet Molina Mata, 32, were found with rubber gloves, laser devices and other tools used for theft. Officers also found 26 master ignition keys for vessels, according to their arrest report.

Loitering charges were later dropped against the four men.

The indictment, handed up by a federal grand jury Wednesday, lists the July arrest as one of 14 acts linking defendants to a ring of thefts. stating the four were scouting vessels to steal. The first act listed was the June 2007 theft of a 36-foot 2005 Yellowfin boat in Naples, according to the document. The most recent was the August 23 theft of a 44-foot Sea Ray vessel from Charlotte County. Esquijarosa and Cespedes are charged for the theft.

Boats were also taken from Fort Myers Beach, St. James City and Manatee and Pinellas County.

The ring is accused of two other boat thefts in Collier County, one in Marco Island in October 2008 and another in Bonita Springs in February 2009.

Law enforcement officials have long been aware a ring was active in the area and they encouraged residents to report suspicious vehicles or individuals. They say the thieves take the boats to Mexico, where they base a human-smuggling operation. Barrels of fuel are anchored off the coast in preparation for the long journey.

Other defendants in addition to Pulido, Esquijarosa, Cespedes and Mata are: Rene Blanco Nuñez, Remberto Blanco Martinez, Jacqueline Galiano Anesto, Heriberto Paez Reyes, Francisco Muñoz Cabrera, Reynaldo Calatallu Garcia, Reinier Pereda Montesino and Javier Guevara Fernandez.

They are being held in Lee County jail pending an arraignment and detention hearing Wednesday morning before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Douglas Frazier in Fort Myers.

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