United States

Jury Selection Finishing in Smuggling Case Involving Cuban Baseball Players

Jury selection is wrapping up in Miami federal court for a sports agent and an associate charged with illegally smuggling Cuban baseball players from the communist island to the U.S.

A federal judge said final questioning of jurors is scheduled for Wednesday morning in the case of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, both of whom have pleaded not guilty. Opening statements are expected Wednesday afternoon.

Prosecutors say Cuban baseball players paid the smuggling ring more than $15 million to leave the island in secretive ventures that included surreptitious boat voyages, fake documents and sometimes threats of violence.

No players are accused of wrongdoing. Players Yoenis Cespedes of the New York Mets, Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox and Adeiny Hechevarria of the Miami Marlins may testify for the prosecution.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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