We all know about Drug Smuggling, but Smuggling Baseball players, that’s a new one.
Here’s a recent Federal Appeal from a conviction for Smuggling Cuban Baseball players to Florida that is hard to believe even for a Clearwater Defense Attorney who thought he’d seen everything.
Although this case seems benign with complete consent from the Cuban Baseball players, there have been other Human Trafficking cases involving human smuggling for illicit purposes such as child prostitution or slave labor where lives are routinely destroyed.
Clearwater Area Task Force Against Human Trafficking – Home
Here’s the Cuban Baseball Smuggling Appeal, below find a link to the entire opinion:
( October 31, 2011) Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida Affirmed in Part, Reversed in Part, and Vacated in Part Gustavo Dominguez, a professional sports agent, was convicted of smuggling five Cuban baseball players into the United States, transporting the players from Miami to Los Angeles, and harboring them there until they applied for asylum.
The theory of prosecution was that Dominguez, and several codefendants conspired to bring, unsuccessfully attempted to bring, and then successfully brought, five Cuban baseball players to the United States so that the players could pursue professional baseball careers. And the prosecution’s theory was that Dominguez had a role in transporting and harboring the players after their arrival in the United States. Dominguez anticipated that, after the players arrived, he would represent them as their agent, negotiate any potential baseball contract, and collect a percentage of their earnings as a fee. The indictment alleged, and the jury found, that Dominguez smuggled the players for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain. Based on this finding, the district court imposed a five-year mandatory minimum sentence.
The Eleventh Circuit concluded that the evidence did not support Dominguez’s convictions of transporting and harboring aliens, because the government did not prove that he transported the Cubans “in furtherance” of their illegal status as required by the transporting statute, or that he “knowingly concealed, harbored, or shielded from detection” as required by the harboring statute. The Court further noted that Dominguez arranged the immigration process to start shortly after the players arrived to the U.S., and himself arranged to have them taken before and report to immigration authorities.
The Court concluded, however, that the evidence supported Dominguez’s convictions of conspiracy to smuggle, aiding and abetting an attempted smuggle, and aiding and abetting a smuggle. The Court held that a specific intent to violate the law is not required, only that a defendant know or recklessly disregard “the fact that an alien has not received prior official authorization to come to, enter, or reside in the United States,” and that the defendant knowingly bring or attempt to bring an alien to the United States.
Full Text of US v. Gominguez
Criminal Defense Attorney in Clearwater, FL
Florida | Free the Slaves BLOG
Smuggled Cuban Baseball Players recently found wearing Chicago White Sox uniforms.