Man will plead guilty to smuggling baseball star

Miami man plans to plead guilty next week to helping finance the venture

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The Independent US

The saga of how Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig signed up with the team after being spirited out of his native Cuba on a speed boat deepened yesterday after it emerged that a Miami man plans to plead guilty next week to helping finance the venture in return for a cut of the player’s  contract.

Gilberto Suarez is accused of paying $250,000 to a group with connections to a Mexican cartel to bring Mr Puig from a safe-house in Isla Mujeres, an island close to Cancun, where he and three others were being held after being snatched from a Cuban beach in April 2012.

Court papers show that Mr Suarez, 40, intends to plead guilty in a court hearing in Miami on 16 December on charges of conspiring to bring in and harbour aliens, crimes that could bring a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

That Mr Puig, 24, signed a seven-year, $42m contract with the LA team even before leaving Mexico has shone a new light on the shadowy relationship between Major League Baseball and Cuban defectors.

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