Mysterious Russia-Linked 'Havana Syndrome' Tied to Florida Keys Arrest

Mysterious Russia-Linked 'Havana Syndrome' Tied to Florida Keys Arrest

A new 60 Minutes interview aired evidence that

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
April 3, 2024

FLORIDA KEYS—Due to a strange new investigation by 60 Minutes, a 2020 traffic stop in the Florida Keys is now thought to be linked to the mysterious, Russian-linked "Havana Syndrome", a neurological ailment initially encountered by government personnel that has afflicted over 1,500 people worldwide.

Alleged Russian spy Vitalli Kovalev was caught speeding and eluding authorities in the Florida Keys in June 2020, causing officers to throw out spike strips to stop the vigilante. Deputies found $75,000 in bank notes, a Russian passport, and a device capable of erasing a car's computer data.

"I didn't do anything!" Kovalev told deputies in the bodycam video. He was arrested and questioned by an FBI agent, who soon came down with mysterious "Havana Syndrome" symptoms, 60 Minutes reported.

"Havana Syndrome" was first discovered in 2016 among government personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba. The reported symptoms include tinnitus, vertigo, headache, dizziness, and cognitive dysfunction. Victims say their symptoms start immediately after hearing a "pulsating noise", and many officials are afflicted while or after focusing on Russia.

No lasting neurological damage has been found, and syndrome victims report that the "noises" disappear when they change locations.

While 60 Minutes' investigation aired evidence tying the syndrome to an elite Russian intelligence unit, America's intelligence agencies, say there is no evidence linking the neurological symptoms to foreign agents.

U.S. Representative Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) disagrees, calling on President Biden to address these "attacks".

"The evidence is growing that the Russians are behind it, and obviously they can do whatever they want in Cuba since that's their big ally," Gimenez, who is Cuban, said in a FOX News interview. "I'm calling on President Biden to hold the dictatorship in Cuba accountable for collaborating with Russia to actively target and kill U.S. officials."

Cuba and the Kremlin have both vehemently denied any ties or causes of "Havana Syndrome".

As for Florida Keys arrestee Kotalev, he was released from a Florida prison in August 2022. He allegedly returned to Russia and died on the front lines in Ukraine, 60 Minutes reported.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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