Prominent baseball player agent Bart Hernandez has been indicted in Florida on human trafficking charges, Cuban baseball documentary filmmaker Sami Khan was first to report (links to Twitter). The counts stem from his alleged role in conspiring to smuggle outfielder Leonys Martin to the United States.
Hernandez is a prominent player rep who is known, in particular, for representing players from Cuba. As Ben Badler of Baseball America notes on Twitter, he has been involved with the agency work for players such as Jose Abreu, Jorge Soler, Raisel Iglesias, and Yaisel Sierra.
The 27-year-old Martin is now with the Mariners and is currently represented by Melvin Roman. He initially came to the U.S. in May of 2011 after signing a five-year contract with the Rangers. He reportedly established residency in Mexico before going through the process of achieving MLB free agency.
If convicted, Hernandez would face a minimum three-year sentence that could reach twenty years, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports. The indictment accuses Hernandez of bringing Martin to the United States for “commercial advantage and private financial gain” before he had received official authorization. It seeks forfeiture of Hernandez’s interest in contracts of three players identified only by their initials. One appears to be Martin, of course, and Abreu may well be another, along with Dalier Hinojosa.
The indictment also refers to an ongoing arbitration between Hernandez’s Global Sports Management and the Praver Shapiro agency, on the one hand, and Martin, on the other. If Hernandez is convicted, he would stand to sacrifice his interest in the outcome of that dispute.
As Passan notes, there’s also litigation between the parties. Indeed, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard news relating to Martin’s case, as another figure in Martin’s journey to the United States — Eliezer Lazo — previously pled guilty to charges. A Mexican baseball academy tied with Lazo had sought to collect a large portion of Martin’s earnings in the contract he signed with Texas. Passan reported details of the matter at the time.
Apart from the more direct results, Hernandez’s representation of still-unsigned Cuban players now appears to be in question. He currently works for Marc Anthony’s Magnus Sports, and represents several notable players. Among them, per Passan, are top Cuban prospects Luis Yander La O and Guillermo Heredia.
This is wonderful… with all the crazy things happening in Football, Basketball, and now Baseball we should be a huge blockbuster movie in the next few years. Drugs, domestic violence, cheating, gambling, hacking, human trafficking… Wow.. just wow.
“commercial advantage and private financial gain” isn’t that about true with all agents period?
Yes, generally, but the allegation is he unlawfully brought someone into the country for that purpose. It’s one of the elements of the alleged count.
Sounds like extortion unless Martin did not want to leave Cuba and was forced against his will?
I don’t think you’re quite grasping what this is about…
You can’t smuggle people into a foreign country without authorization from that country.. So this has nothing to do with Martin’s desire to leave Cuba for America. It has to do with Federal United States Laws pertaining to immigrants entering the country.
The ‘human trafficking’ charge has to do with Hernandez illegally bringing Cubans into the country for profit (ie. his agency fee)
He was not smuggled to America though he was smuggled to Mexico he never came to the US illegally. It is also strange the US wants to enforce these laws against an agent but all the people bringing Mexicans across the border illegally are let off with a slap on the wrist.
I’m not getting into the second part of the comment, but as to the first, the government alleges that he was brought in without official authorization – or at least that they tried to – regardless of whether he ultimately did receive clearance.
So, when you say “he never came to the US illegally,” that may or may not be true, but it seems to be a matter to be decided in the case.
That makes it clearer but still kind of hypocritical to try charging him for human trafficking, these Cubans are establishing citizenship in other countries are we supposed to think they are doing this with out help? He just as the people who robbed Puig of his hard earned money should be charged for extortion to the fullest extent of the law though.
Human trafficking is not a crime about smuggling or immigration, but mental or physical coercion by a person or persons to get some sort of gain, financial or otherwise, from another person. It looks like the agent and the people who brought Martin to the U.S. exerted some form of threat or psychological pressure on Martin to get far more money or other kind of concessions out of him than they would in a normal contract. The element of force or mental duress makes it a crime.
Trafficking is business to business to MLB as a means for defection. All MLB cares about is that they’re naturalized before playing.
there was scandal with the white sox too. a few years ago kenny williams hired his buddy to lead the search for latin american players. kickbacks all over the place, money wasnt going where it was suppose to go. the guy took alot if money. williams was promoted and the farm system still reeks.
Pretty racist move if you ask me.
Glad nobody asked you
please explain remark about being racist move.
Best not to mix social justice and baseball. But suffice it to say you don’t see the agents of white players being prosecuted for human trafficking.
Lol what are you on about, m8?
Because they tend to be Americans and haven’t been trafficked anywhere.
twinsvet you are the racist.
That’s hurtful. I never attacked you personally. Do you call every champion for social justice a racist?
no, i call them brainwashed crybaby socialist democrats.
To clarify by business-to-business, trafficking is all part of the industry with grooming talent for the big stage. Entertainment-Professional Sports-Baseball-MLB is the harbor. Illegal, but a part of it.