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Nearly three dozen people have been detained over ties to a supposed criminal group operating out of neighboring Florida.

Cuban authorities have foiled a suspected terror plot involving weapons smuggled from the US, Victor Alvarez Valle, lead criminal investigator with Cuba's Interior Ministry, said on Monday.

The plot first came to light in December last year, when authorities said they detained a man who had illegally arrived on the island from the neighboring US state of Florida carrying guns, ammunition, and military gear. He was suspected of intending to "execute violent actions" in the Caribbean nation.

Alvarez identified the man as 40-year-old Ardenys Garcia, a Cuban residing in Florida, who had illegally emigrated to the US in 2014. According to investigators, the seven-month probe that followed Garcia's detention revealed a massive terror scheme which "was planned, organized, supported and financed by a group of Cuban terrorists based in the US" known as La Nueva Nacion Cubana.

Garcia allegedly acted on orders from the group, which was plotting attacks against civilian targets in Cuba. Apart from smuggling weapons to the island nation, he was to organize an armed movement within the country and carry out terrorist acts with the aim of destabilizing the Cuban government. The scheme allegedly involved a total of 32 Cuban residents, with Garcia considered the prime suspect.

Garcia stands accused of "illegal entry into the national territory and acts against the security of the state," Alvarez stated, noting that authorities are also considering charging him with espionage. He faces up to 30 years in prison. Other suspects in the case have been detained, but have not yet been officially charged, with the investigation into their involvement still ongoing.

Alvarez said US authorities had been notified of the investigation, but had not offered to cooperate and have so far failed to take action against the purported terror group based on their soil.
"These individuals continue to act with impunity in North American territory, organizing, financing and supporting activities of a violent nature in order to subvert the internal order of our country."
In a statement to Reuters on Monday, a US State Department official said Washington was aware of the investigation, but explained that American law enforcement "prosecutes individuals based on US law and does not take direction from foreign governments."