Cuban baseball-player smugglers face sentencing

A sports agent and a baseball trainer are facing prison time for illegally smuggling Cuban players into the U.S.

A sports agent and a baseball trainer are facing prison time at a sentencing hearing in Miami after their convictions for illegally smuggling Cuban players into the U.S.

Court documents show prosecutors will ask a judge Thursday to exceed the nine-year maximum sentences recommended by federal guidelines for agent Bartolo Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada. Attorneys for both men are seeking more lenient prison terms.

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 their 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.

Curt Anderson, The Associated Press

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