July Sentencing Set in Cuban Ballplayer Smuggling Case

(AP) – A federal judge in Miami has set sentencing for July 11 for a sports agent and baseball trainer convicted of smuggling ballplayers from Cuba to the United States.

Prosecutors say agent Bartolo Hernandez faces between three and 15 years in prison. Trainer Julio Estrada could get between five and 35 years behind bars.

A jury convicted both men Wednesday of conspiracy and alien smuggling charges after a six-week trial.

Prosecution evidence included testimony from several Major League Baseball players detailing their defections from communist Cuba and signing of lucrative free-agent contracts.

Trial evidence included documents containing false information used to obtain players’ residency in Mexico and Haiti they needed before coming to the U.S. There was also testimony about attempted kidnappings of players and illegal border crossings.

 

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