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UPDATED Hialeah absentee-ballot broker arrested, charged with ballot fraud

A Hialeah woman was arrested and charged with absentee-ballot fraud Thursday morning after police say she fraudulently obtained a ballot from a terminally ill woman in a nursing home.

The arrest ended more than a week of speculation in a case that has roiled Hialeah and the races for Miami-Dade’s state attorney and mayor.

Deisy Penton de Cabrera, 56, was charged with absentee-ballot fraud, a third-degree felony, and two misdemeanor counts of violating a county ordinance that makes it illegal for anyone to possess more than two ballots belonging to other voters. Investigators suspect Cabrera, a ballot broker known in Spanish as a boletera, of illegally collecting at least 31 absentee ballots.

Police detectives followed Cabrera over two days last week. On July 24, according to an arrest affidavit unsealed Thursday, she dropped off 19 absentee ballots at a Hialeah post office.

The next day, detectives followed Cabrera into a nursing home, where she went into the room of a woman identified by police as Z.G. The officers overheard Cabrera telling Z.G. that she was sent there by the woman’s sister to get her signature. A few minutes later, Cabrera left.

When the detectives went into the room to speak to Z.G., they found she was unresponsive. The detective said hello and waved to Z.G., whose eyes were open, the warrant says, “but she [stared] off into space and did not respond to the greeting.” Developing story here.