Jury convicts Miami-Dade County man for helping organize human smuggling trip from Cuba

— A Miami-Dade County man is facing up to life in prison after being convicted of charges that he helped organize and outfit a human smuggling trip in which a Cuban boy died.

A jury convicted Carlos Manuel Reyes last Thursday after a two-day federal trial in Key West.

The U.S. Coast Guard intercepted the go-fast boat with 29 Cuban nationals on board Oct. 13, 2005. As the Coast Guard pursued it, the smaller vessel capsized and trapped 6-year-old Julian Villasuso beneath it.

The boat’s two captains pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit alien smuggling. Each was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Reyes’ sentencing is scheduled for January.

Defense attorney Roy Kahn said Saturday that Reyes maintains he didn’t organize the trip and will appeal his conviction.

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