LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), Rear Admiral David W. Kunkel, Commander 7th Coast Guard District, John Beutlich, Director, Air Operation, Office of Air and Marine, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, announced the July 9, 2007 sentencing of defendant, Gustavo Dominguez, to five years in prison on charges of conspiracy to commit alien smuggling for profit, alien smuggling for profit, bringing aliens to the United States, transporting and harboring aliens for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain. The sentenced, imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Michael K. Moore, was the mandatory minimum sentence on these charges.
Defendant Gustavo Dominguez is the first sports agent to be charged and convicted of alien smuggling. According to the evidence presented at trial, Dominguez organized two smuggling trips by hiring individuals to pick-up baseball players in Cuba using go-fast boats. The government established that Dominguez paid for the smuggling of five Cuban baseball players into the United States for the purpose of profiting by subsequently representing them as their sports agent. The first trip in July 2004 failed when the boat was interdicted on its way to the United States by the United States Coast Guard. However, a second smuggling trip in August of 2004 was successful.
Dominguez arranged to have the five baseball players transported from South Florida to California. Dominguez also arranged to have the baseball players housed and trained knowing that the players were illegally in the country. Among the prosecution witnesses at trial were Henry Blanco, the Chicago Cubs catcher, Philadelphia Phillies General Manager Pat Gillick, and former major league pitcher Ariel Pietro. In addition, the jury heard the testimony of the person who handled the details of the alien smuggling trip for Dominguez, Ysbel Medina. Ysbel Medina, a convicted drug trafficker, testified that Dominguez wired approximately $225,0000 for the ventures.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Customs and Border Protection – Office of Air and Marine Operations. In addition, Acosta thanked Major League Baseball officials for their cooperation during this prosecution. The criminal case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Benjamin Daniel and Marcus Christian.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.