Texas Rangers GM To Take Stand In Cuban Ballplayer Smuggling Trial

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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — The defense begins their case Tuesday in the federal trial of two men accused of smuggling Cuban baseball players into the U.S.

Sports agent Bartolo Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada are charged with conspiracy and alien smuggling. Both men insist they ran legitimate businesses and did not bring players into the U.S. illegally.

Texas Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels and assistant GM Mike Daly will be the lead-off witnesses for the defense. Earlier in the trial, outfielder Leonys Martin told jurors how he signed a $15.5 million contract with the Rangers after he was smuggled from Cuba in 2011. Martin now plays for the Seattle Mariners.

Prosecutors say the men ran a smuggling ring that falsely got Cuban players in line to sign lucrative free agent contracts.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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