Jay Weaver of the Miami Herald reports that the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami has charged three people with smuggling Cuban prospects into the United States, including smuggling, kidnapping, and extortion charges specifically related to Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin.
According to Weaver two of the accused–Eliezer Lazo and Joel Martinez–are already serving prison sentences for money laundering convictions and the third–Yilian Hernandez–was arrested yesterday by Homeland Security and the FBI.
Martin left Cuba in 2010 and signed a $15.5 million contract with the Rangers, making his MLB debut in September of 2011. He was smuggled into the country through Mexico and Lazo and Martinez previously filed a civil lawsuit against Martin claiming they’d served as his management agency and he failed to pay them. Martin counter-sued them claiming it was an “illegal scheme” involving extortion and holding him hostage until “ransom” money was paid.
It’s a pretty crazy story overall, so definitely check out the entire write-up in the Miami Herald.