The man faces criminal charges for dumping about 50 balloons in Biscayne Bay

MIAMI – A 29-year-old man faces a criminal charge after detectives charged him with tossing deflated balloons into Biscayne Bay at the Bayshore Landing Marina in Miami’s Coconut Grove on Tuesday.

The deflated latex, mylar, or vinyl balloons float on the surface of the water. Turtles, seabirds and other sea creatures mistake the non-biodegradable material for jellyfish and eat it.

Homestead’s David Torres-Bocanegra dumped about 50 balloons while working on a chartered yacht at the marina and confessed to the crime, according to the arrest form.

“I am very proud of our Illegal Landfill Unit for their thorough investigation and speedy closure of this case,” Miami-Dade Police Department Interim Director George A. Perez said in a statement.

Officers arrested Torres-Bocanegra in Homestead around 9:20 p.m. Wednesday. Correctional officers booked him into Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center around 3:35 a.m. Thursday.


The balloons adorned the yacht chartered by Miami fitness instructor Tom Rivas to propose. Cloud Nine, a family-run event planner, hired a balloon retailer to deliver.

After the celebration, Rivas said he was on the yacht taking photos when a witness recorded a video showing the balloons being disposed of and shared it on Instagram.

“We honestly had no idea until we saw the videos,” Rivas later wrote on Instagram, adding that he received hateful messages about it.

Records show that Torres-Bocanegra faces charges of reckless disregard for the environment, a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000 or 60 days in prison, or both. His bail was set at $500.


Read the description of the arrest form

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

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Joel McCord

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