Using balloons to decorate yacht proves to be a costly mistake in Miami

MIAMI – The decision to use dozens of balloons to decorate a yacht during a recent marriage proposal in Miami turned out to be really costly for a group of people. The lesson authorities want the public to learn: It’s a crime to dispose of balloons in Biscayne Bay.

A 29-year-old man, who was fined $2,510 for illegal dumping, is at risk of facing up to $10,000 in fines and time in jail. Nine others — including Dessideria D’Caro De Capriles, the owner of the charter yacht — are facing about $23,000 in total fines.

David Torres-Bocanegra, of Homestead, told detectives on Wednesday that he was the man who dropped about 50 balloons into the water on Tuesday at the Bayshore Landing Marina in Miami’s Coconut Grove, according to the arrest form.

“Jesus is alive,” Torres-Bocanegra said after walking out of jail on Thursday afternoon. When reporters asked him if he cared about the environment, he said, “Of course!”

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None of it would have happened had it not been for a witness who was appalled, recorded the video, and shared it on Instagram. Environmentalists were outstanding. Marine animals often mistake the nonbiodegradable deflated balloons for jellyfish. Turtles eat it. Seabirds feed it to their young.

Police and prosecutors worked together. Officers arrested Torres-Bocanegra at about 9:20 pm, on Wednesday, in Homestead. Corrections officers booked him at about 3:35 am, on Thursday, at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.

Tom Rivas, a Miami fitness coach, entrusted the planning of his romantic proposal to Cloud Nine, a family-owned company that allegedly a vendor dealt with the balloons and they were not involved in the disposal.

Officers issued Cloud Nine and HD2 Yacht Service each a $2,510 civil citation. Also, Gabriela Castillo, the event coordinator, and Francisco Feo, the person in charge of the charter company, each received $2,510 citations.

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Officers also cited Tulio Capriles, Iulia Tyshchenko, Viacheslav Diadiura, and Efrain Hernandez, records show. The citations did not specify their involvement.

Torres-Bocanegra is facing a charge of reckless disregard for the environment, a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 or 60 days in jail, or both. His bond was $500.

In the wake of the balloon issue, an online petition was started with the goal of having balloons on banned on beaches, boats and coastal areas of Miami.

“We have almost 2000 signatures in two days and we truly believe that banning balloons on boats can spark the culture shift we need in Miami,” said Juan Pablo Ortega of Salty Miami. “Even the guy who was getting engaged and hired the yacht signed and shared the petition.”

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To view the petition, click here.

Read the arrest form’s narrative

David Sebastian Torres-Bocanegra. (Miami-Dade Corrections & Rehabilitation)David Torres-Bocanegra (.)

Watch the related reports

Don’t Trash Our Treasure: 6 pm, May 11

Environmentalists have a request for boaters in South Florida: Don’t tie up balloons on your boat. These will harm wildlife.

Night report: 11 pm, May 11

Tom Rivas said he chartered a yacht for an engagement proposal. Cloud Nine, which specializes in romantic proposals, helped him to plan the event. It all went smoothly. She said, “Yes!” But hours later, the fitness coach’s event was associated with pollution in Biscayne Bay. Officers arrested one suspect and issued nine citations on Wednesday.

Afternoon report: 4 pm, May 11

Investigators aim to identify a man who was recently disposing of balloons in Biscayne Bay.

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