For more than two decades, federal immigration authorities repeatedly have attempted to deport a 69-year-old Cuban national recently accused of exposing himself to a female customer at a Waldo coffee shop.
According to court records, Vincente Heredia-Priz masturbated in front of the customer Sunday while staring at her. She alerted another customer, and they both went outside and called police.
Heredia-Priz also left the shop but was arrested a short time later.
He entered the United States from Cuba through Key West, Fla., in June 1980, according to federal officials. Heredia-Priz was among thousands who arrived in the U.S. as part of the Mariel boatlift.
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Federal immigration authorities have tried to deport him since 1994.
Immigration officials have been unable to obtain the travel documents from Cuban authorities needed to deport Heredia-Priz, said Shawn Neudauer, a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.
Cuba is one of several countries unwilling to accept deportees.
A 2001 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled that criminal illegal immigrants cannot be detained indefinitely. Federal immigration authorities cannot continue to detain them long term — unless there is a significant likelihood of removal in the reasonably foreseeable future, Neudauer said.
Heredia-Priz was released from ICE custody in 2006.
Heredia-Priz, who is a registered sex offender, has prior felony convictions for drug trafficking, burglary and sexual misconduct.
In 2009, he served 30 days in the Jackson County jail after pleading guilty to sexual misconduct. The previous year, he served 120 days of shock time after pleading guilty to burglary. The eight-year prison sentence in that case was suspended, and he was placed on three years of probation.
On Monday, immigration authorities placed a detainer on Heredia-Priz. He will be transferred to federal custody when the criminal charges in Jackson County are resolved.
“We will review his case and make appropriate determinations at that time,” Neudauer said.