December 8, 2015 / 11:36 PM / 5 years ago

Cuba returns U.S. fugitive in sign of renewed diplomacy

MIAMI (Reuters) - An American man wanted on firearms charges was brought back from Cuba on Tuesday, marking the first fugitive returned since the two nations restored diplomatic ties this year, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Shawn Wegmann, 38, of Indiana removed an electronic monitoring bracelet in October and attempted to enter Cuba on board a 13-foot Boston Whaler boat that was reported stolen from a Florida marina, according to officials.

Cuban authorities caught Wegmann and alerted U.S. law enforcement.

He was expected to be extradited to Iowa where he had previously pleaded not guilty to three charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and three counts of possession of a stolen firearm, according to U.S. Marshals.

He is among Americans who sought protection in Cuba from U.S. prosecution in the decades when relations were estranged between the two former Cold War adversaries.

While Cuba has returned fugitives before the normalization of relations between the two countries, U.S. authorities hope for further cooperation.

Editing by Letitia Stein and Lisa Shumaker

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