Following up on our story of Suitcase of Cash, we have new news. On 7 March 2013 the prosecution in the case against Steven Knight rested its case. Mr. Knight’s attorneys now have 5 days to review the final arguments and respond. From there who knows said Steven when I spoke with him on the phone during his one hour break from the confines of his 12 X 8 two man cell he is forced to share with six other prisoners.
Today I got to hear the story directly from Steven, the hard part is to keep it short so I jump some details and tell you in August of 2011 Steven took the boat to Mexico and sold it. He collected $1.2 Million in cash, declared it with Mexican Customs and with all paperwork in order departed for the US where upon arrival he declared the cash, cleared customs and deposited the money in a U S bank.
Then a short while later he returned to Mexico to collect the final $950,000.00. Same as before he collected the money, checked into and cleared Mexican Customs and while waiting to depart the Mexican Federal Police arrived and decided $950,000.00 was “a lot of money” and they detained
Steven, the plane and his captain who was with him aboard.
Interesting fact is all the paperwork shows everything was done properly, there was no problem. The Mexican Customs agents testified all paperwork was in order and they were surprised he was detained. The Mexican Federal Police who testified said he was detained because while all the paperwork was in place “It was a lot of money”. The DEA looked into the situation and said no drug involvement; it was simply the sale of a boat. The State Department said they don’t deal with the Mexican judicial system, and Congressman Connie Mack’s office pledged to help and then did nothing after they got a nice sound bite. Key West Congressman Joe Garcia is working to get some visibility on the case and hopefully get some sort of final resolution.
Regardless of what happened after 17 months of being held guilty until proven innocent the next 2-4 months will be significant for both Steven and his boat captain who remains locked up with him. The judge could rule either way and if the judge does rule in favor of release then the prosecutor may appeal which could delay the return home even longer. When they are released the money remains a problem because who has it and how will he get it back. Beyond the deplorable conditions and being confined to a hole for 23 hours a day, they have lost most everything, being away from your business and income for 17 months can take a huge toll and Steven will need help upon his return to restructure and resettle. He has lost over 60 lbs and is generally not well, he is optimistic he will get out and I am hopeful to meet him in Key West for a drink on the pier as soon as he does!
A call to his attorney again went unanswered. More to come when details become available…