Agent Bart Hernandez has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Florida on two counts related to the smuggling of Seattle outfielder Leonys Martin into the United States, according to documents obtained by MLB.com.Originally filed on Feb. 12, the sealed document claims Hernandez conspired with smugglers Eliezer Lazo and
Agent Bart Hernandez has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Florida on two counts related to the smuggling of Seattle outfielder Leonys Martin into the United States, according to documents obtained by MLB.com.
Originally filed on Feb. 12, the sealed document claims Hernandez conspired with smugglers Eliezer Lazo and Joel Martinez Hernandez to encourage and induce an alien to enter into the United States in violation of the law as early as 2008 for Count 1. Count 2 against Hernandez, dated in April 2011, alleges Hernandez did knowingly bring Martin to the United States in violation of the law for private and commercial gain.
Hernandez was scheduled to make his first appearance in a Miami court Friday afternoon. If convicted, the maximum penalty for each count is 10 years in prison, according the U.S. Attorney's Office in Florida.
Additionally, if convicted of Counts 1 and 2, Hernandez would forfeit any vessels, vehicles and aircrafts used in commission of the crime, as well as property derived from the proceeds obtained directly or indirectly from the commission of the offense. Other assets subject to forfeiture include interest Hernandez has obtained directly or indirectly from Martin and all interest Hernandez has obtained in any arbitration proceedings with Major League Baseball Players Association.
A bond hearing has been set for Monday at 10 a.m. ET. Hernandez will remain in custody at least until then, according to a source.
As for the co-conspirators, Lazo pleaded guilty and was sentenced to more than 14 years in federal prison for extortion conspiracy. He was already serving a five-year sentence for Medicare fraud. Martinez Hernandez was also jailed for Medicare fraud. In 2012, Martin filed a civil lawsuit claiming Lazo and Martinez Hernandez held him hostage while Hernandez and his bosses Scott Shapiro and Barry Praver negotiated a $15.5 million deal with the Texas Rangers. Martin paid $1.2 million to Estrellas Del Béisbol, the company owned by Lazo and Martinez Hernandez, according to the lawsuit.
Hernandez, who now works for Magnus Sports, the agency founded by entertainer Marc Anthony, owns Global Sports Management. He has represented several high-profile Cuban players, including White Sox slugger Jose Abreu, whose initials appear in the document alongside Martin and Phillies Minor Leaguer Dalier Hinojosa.
More than 100 Cuban players, including several All-Stars, have played in the Majors since the U.S. imposed sanctions on the island in 1961. Approximately 125 prospects have left the island in the past 20 months seeking Major League contracts with defection -- either leaving a national team during an international tournament or late-night escapes from Cuba to ports in Haiti or Mexico -- having traditionally been the only way for players to make it to the big leagues since Fidel Castro took power in 1959.
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com.