Miami federal agents arrest man accused of acting as Russian spy

MIAMI (WSVN/CNN/AP) — U.S. authorities say they have arrested a Mexican citizen allegedly hired by a Russian government official to spy in the United States.

Biologist Hector Alejandra Cabrera Fuentes was charged Tuesday with acting within the United States on behalf of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. attorney general, and conspiracy to do the same.

According to the criminal complaint, the Russian government tasked Fuentes with locating the vehicle of a U.S. government confidential source in the Miami area.

A Russian official provided Fuentes with a physical description of the source’s vehicle and told Fuentes to locate the vehicle and obtain the license plate number.

Investigators say when Fuentes’ wife was flying out of Miami, she was stopped by federal agents and they found pictures of the U.S. source’s license plate on her phone.

The feds say they found text messages that prove Fuentes was communicating and meeting with Russian officials in Moscow.

A mayor in southern Mexico says Fuentes is considered a hero in his hometown.

He holds posts at two prominent universities.

Mayor Hazael Matus says Fuentes has helped set up science projects in his hometown of El Espinal.

Matus said Wednesday that Cabrera had even been considered a contender for a Nobel Prize in medicine for his work on cardiac treatments.

Officials are holding Fuentes without bond.

He is scheduled to appear in federal court Friday.

Copyright 2020 WSVN via CNN. All rights reserved. Associated Press contributed to this report.