Baseball agent, trainer sentenced on smuggling convictions

MIAMI (AP) — A sports agent and a baseball trainer convicted of illegally smuggling Cuban players into the U.S. have been sentenced to prison.

A Miami federal judge on Thursday sentenced agent Bartolo Hernandez to just under four years behind bars and trainer Julio Estrada to a little more than five years. Prosecutors had sought more lengthy sentences for what they called a sophisticated and violent scheme.

Hernandez and Estrada were convicted by a jury in March after a six-week trial.

Trial evidence showed the pair ran an international operation to smuggle Cuban players off the communist-run island in return for a cut of lucrative baseball contracts. The players include Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox, Adeiny Hechavarria of the Tampa Bay Rays and Leonys Martin of the Chicago Cubs.

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