DCF, Homestead Investigate Case of Baseball Players Staying at Stadium | NBC 6 South Florida

DCF, Homestead Investigate Case of Baseball Players Staying at Stadium

The Venezuelan players were brought to Homestead in February by Gigantes Baseball Group



    (Published Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015)

    The Department of Children and Families, Homestead Police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement were at the Homestead baseball stadium Wednesday speaking with teenage Venezuelan ballplayers who were staying there.

    The baseball players are here on traveling visas and were sleeping in the locker room, which is a violation of the fire code, officials said.

    The players said they were brought to Homestead in February for an intensive training camp by a Canadian sports organization, Gigantes Baseball Group, a camp that sets up young players to be viewed by scouts.

    The city of Homestead said it was tipped off initially about the situation and went to the stadium to follow up.

    Detective Antonio Aquino said Homestead Police were notified by city management "that we had individuals sleeping on the premises here at the sports complex in violation of our contract with the establishment."

    The complex is city-owned and is leased by attorney John Ruiz of La Ley Sports, who said in a phone interview that he is only renting the space to Gigantes Baseball Group and is not involved in it.

    Ruiz is facing thousands of dollars in debts to the city on the complex, however, and authorities said the fire code situation could further complicate his case.

    DCF spokeswoman Lissette Valdes-Valle said earlier Wednesday that the agency had an open investigation on the case of seven minors and were checking on their condition.

    The six minors and six adults on the team who remain at the stadium spoke with DCF and ICE Wednesday evening.

    The players said they are happy with the baseball program. Catcher Jesus Rodriguez said he has never had any problems with it.