Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig smuggler sentenced to one-month prison term

Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig takes batting practice during spring training at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix on March 3.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

A South Florida businessman who received $2.5 million from Yasiel Puig for helping to smuggle the Dodgers outfielder into the United States was sentenced Friday to a one-month prison term for violating U.S. immigration laws.

Gilberto Suarez, 41, who pleaded guilty in December, will also serve five months of house arrest and forfeit a house, condominium and a car to the government, according to the Associated Press.

“I think the safety of the player and the other aliens was also paramount in his mind,” U.S. District Judge Robert Scola said in sentencing Suarez to less than the one-year maximum.

Suarez’s defense attorney Bijan Parwaresch said the money his client obtained from Puig is gone. As part of Suarez’s plea deal he is also to give up his interest in St. Louis shortstop Aledmys Diaz, who signed a four-year deal with the Cardinals in March 2014 reportedly worth $8 million.


“We want to send a message that this type of crime should not be rewarded,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Davidson said.

Suarez’s primary involvement in smuggling Puig into the country was driving the then-21-year-old Cuban defector in a taxi from Mexico City to the Texas border in 2012.

Puig’s journey to becoming an All-Star outfielder was detailed in an extensive Los Angeles magazine article that detailed his multiple attempts to flee Cuba and how members of the Zetas, a Mexican drug cartel, played a role in bringing him to Mexico.

Puig signed a seven-year, $42-million contract with the Dodgers in June 2012.

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