Miami-Dade County

Cuba turns over U.S. fugitive who fled to island

Indiana fugitive Shawn Wegmann is suspected of stealing this small boat in Key West to flee to Cuba, where he was detained in late October and turned over to the U.S. Marshals Service on Tuesday.
Indiana fugitive Shawn Wegmann is suspected of stealing this small boat in Key West to flee to Cuba, where he was detained in late October and turned over to the U.S. Marshals Service on Tuesday. U.S. Marshals Service

An Indiana man wanted on firearms charges was brought back from Cuba to South Florida by federal marshals on Tuesday, marking the first fugitive to be turned over to the U.S. government since it established diplomatic relations with the island nation this year.

Shawn Wegmann, an alleged enforcer for a Midwestern motorcycle gang, was detained by Cuban authorities on Oct. 31 after he ripped off his GPS ankle monitor, stole a 13-foot boat in Key West and crossed the Florida Straits, authorities said Tuesday.

In early November, the U.S. Marshals Service was notified that the 38-year-old Wegmann had been detained while attempting to enter Cuba, authorities said.

On Tuesday, a team of federal marshals flew to Havana to pick up Wegmann from Cuban authorities at Jose Marti International Airport. The marshals returned with him to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

“Wegmann is the first fugitive who has been returned to the United States by the Cuban government after fleeing to Cuba since diplomatic relations began” in July, said U.S. Marshal Amos Rojas Jr., who led the trip to Havana.

On Wednesday, Wegmann will have his first appearance in Miami federal court, where he will have an extradition hearing to face criminal charges in Iowa. Previously free on a bond, Wegmann is charged with three counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and three counts of possessing a stolen firearm.

Despite Cuba’s cooperation in turning over Wegmann to U.S. authorities, dozens of Cuban immigrants charged with or convicted of defrauding the federal Medicare program are suspected of living on the island. The FBI and Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General have compiled a list of defendants whose cases date back years.

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