Woman involved in Cuban ballplayer smuggling ring faces up to 3 years in US prison


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MIAMI — A woman involved in a Cuban human smuggling ring that included baseball players such as Texas Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin is facing up to three years in U.S. prison.

Yillian Hernandez pleaded guilty last week in Miami federal court to an extortion charge. Prosecutors say she was part of a conspiracy that illegally brought more than 1,000 Cubans through Mexico to U.S. shores, including some baseball players.

Authorities say Martin paid the group $1.2 million after signing with the Rangers. The going rate for average Cubans was $10,000 apiece. Mexican drug cartels usually get a cut as well.

Sentencing for Hernandez is set for May 4 before U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard.

The leader of the group, Eliezer Lazo, was sentenced in November to 14 years behind bars.

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