Two Cuban-born men on personal watercraft arrested last month after fleeing from a Coast Guard cutter 30 miles south of Key West were indicted Friday.
"They were indicted for failure to heave to," said Coast Guard Investigative Service Agent in Charge Paul Shultz. "It's unlikely they will face smuggling charges due to the fact that they were southbound without migrants aboard."
Coast Guard Keys commanding officer Capt. Al Young were highly suspicious that Antonio Rodriguez, a U.S. citizen, and Ricardo Gonzalez-Solorzano, a legal resident, were involved in smuggling after both were captured on personal watercrafts outfitted with GPS as well as extra drinking water and gas cans.
Gonzalez is still being held as a federal inmate at the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island, but Gonzalez-Solorzano reportedly made bail and was released, Shultz said.
Rodriguez has previously done federal prison time for grand theft and assault, but Gonzalez-Solorzano has little criminal history, Shultz said.
Their trial will likely occur at the Sidney M. Aronovitz courthouse, 301 Simonton St., but no date had been scheduled as of Friday, according to court records.
The men were well into the Gulf Stream when they were stopped after a 45-minute chase. In the Gulf Stream, even a 1-foot chop can hinder a personal watercraft, but the Coast Guard has had cases in the past of such vessels making the run to Cuba, Shultz said.
They were stopped by the new fast-response cutter Margaret Norvell that is typically based in Miami, but has been in Key West training as the new ships continue to come online throughout the Coast Guard fleet in South Florida as well as nationwide.