Cuban baseball player smugglers seek lenient sentences

Baseball trainer Julio Estrada, left, leaves federal court in Miami. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

MIAMI — A sports agent and a baseball trainer are seeking lenient prison sentences after their convictions in Miami of smuggling Cuban players to the U.S.

Court records filed this week show agent Bartolo Hernandez is asking for a three-year prison term and trainer Julio Estrada wants no more than five years. They were convicted by a jury in March after a six-week trial.

Prosecutors are asking a judge to exceed the nine-year maximum for both calculated under federal sentencing guidelines.

Sentencing is set for Nov. 2.

Trial evidence showed the pair ran an international operation to smuggle Cuban players in return for a cut of their lucrative baseball contracts, including 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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