Prosecutors: Florida Men Smuggled Cuban Players to Get Rich

Federal prosecutors have told jurors that a Florida sports agent and a baseball trainer orchestrated an illegal smuggling ring to get rich by bringing Cuban ballplayers to the Major Leagues.

Defense lawyers for agent Bartolo Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada countered Tuesday that both stayed within the law while helping players escape communist Cuba and sign lucrative contracts in the U.S.

Now that closing arguments are done in the six-week trial, jurors should begin deliberations Wednesday.

Prosecutors say the smuggling network included boat captains, handlers and forgers of phony paperwork to get players quickly to the U.S.

Some of the dozens of smuggled players testified, including Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox and Leonys Martin of the Seattle Mariners. Neither Hernandez nor Estrada took the witness stand.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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