Players Testify In Cuban Ballplayer Smuggling Case

MIAMI (AP) _ Two Cuban baseball players told a federal jury they paid tens of thousands of dollars from signing bonuses with Major League Baseball teams to a smuggling network that prosecutors say was overseen by a Florida sports agent and his associate.

Players Jorge Padron and Reinier Roibal told a Miami jury Tuesday how they were spirited off the communist-governed island on speedboats bound for Cancun, Mexico, to train while awaiting documents necessary to come to the U.S., where they eventually signed lucrative free-agent contracts.

The two testified in the alien-smuggling and conspiracy trial of agent Bartolo Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada, who contend their business was legitimate.

Roibal says he paid the group about $170,000 out of his San Francisco Giants contract. Padron says he paid them about $140,000 after signing with the Boston Red Sox.

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