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.
Monroe County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Becky Herrin says Wegmann was caught by Cuban border agents at Havana Harbor at 5 p.m. Oct. 31. He reportedly was in a white 13-foot Boston Whaler that was stolen earlier from Murray Marine on Stock Island. Photos of the vessel from Cuban authorities show the Florida registration numbers on the stolen vessel, Herrin said.
She said the boat owner reported the vessel missing the day before Luskey arrived in Cuba (the boat has a 40 horsepower engine); the owner had left the keys in the ignition.
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 the 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.