On Friday, March 6 Gilberto Suarez of South Florida was sentenced to one month in prison plus five months of house arrest for his role in smuggling baseball star Yasiel Puig from Cuba. Suarez’s plea agreement also mandates that he no longer be involved in Aldemys Diaz’s contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. Diaz is also from Cuba.
Although the maximum sentence is one year, Judge Robert Scola ruled on a lesser sentencing because Suarez’s role was limited. In addition, Judge Scola learned that Suarez was threatened by the Zetas drug gang and possibly also Mexican police, which influenced the sentencing.
To get Puig to the United States, a group of financiers in Miami arranged for him to go to Mexico from Cuba by boat. In return, the financiers were to receive a cut of his multimillion-dollar contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Suarez’s cut was $2.5 million. However, as a part of the investigation and charges, Suraez will surrender a house, a condominium and a Mercedes-Benz to the government.
According to Suarez’s defense attorney, Bijan Parwaresh, Suarez initially only got involved to help Puig sign a contract with the Major League Baseball team. Parwaresh stated that Suarez’s mistake was when he took Puig to the U.S. border without immigration policy, even though there was no criminal intent.
Alien Smuggling laws can be confusing to navigate. Under federal law, Alien Smuggling makes it an offense for any person who knowing that a person is an alien, to bring to or attempts to bring to the United States in any manner whatsoever such person at a place other than a designated port of entry or place other than as designated by the Commissioner, regardless of whether such alien has received prior official authorization to come to, enter, or reside in the United States and regardless of any future official action which may be taken with respect to such alien. A defense attorney can help you understand the charges and how to protect your rights.
CBSMiami.com, “1 Month Prison for Businessman in Smuggling of Dodgers’ Puig,” 6 March 2015