MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Cuban baseball defector Yasiel Puig has made news on the baseball field for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and behind the wheel of a car where he was clocked going more than one hundred miles an hour.
Now, an article in Los Angeles Magazine tells the harrowing story of how Puig made it from Cuba to the Major Leagues.
“He knew he was dealing with smugglers,” says author Jesse Katz. “There is no other way to get off the island than to deal with smugglers.”
The magazine claims Puig’s journey was financed by a Miami man named Raul Pacheco.
In June of 2012, Puig offered Cuban smugglers 250 thousand dollars to take Puig from Cuba to Mexico with the help of a Mexican drug cartel. But Pacheco couldn’t come up with all the money.
“Once they got to Mexico that’s where the craziness begins,” said Katz. “They’re in a dumpy hotel near the coast of Cancun and they want their money.”
The article claims Puig was held captive for more than 20 days while the price of his release was negotiated. At one point, a smuggler named Leo wanted more money for Puig’s release.
“Leo turned up dead,” Katz said. “He was shot 13 times in an upscale district of Cancun.
Finally, Pacheco reportedly sent in a rescue team that got Puig out of Cancun and took him to Mexico City. Soon after that, he tried out for the Dodgers and not only made the team, he made millions. Puig signed a seven year contract worth 42 million dollars. According to the article, Raul Pacheco gets 20 percent of Puig’s earnings for life.
So far Pacheco has not been found to discuss the story, and Yasiel Puig isn’t talking about it.