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Agent Who Smuggled Cuban Players into US Has Conviction Reversed

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on November 03, 2011 6:44 AM

He came to fame when he negotiated the contract for Rene Arocha, the first Cuban ball player to defect to the U.S. But years later, agent Gustavo "Gus" Dominguez would instead become known for smuggling Cuban baseball players into the country.

And that fact did not change this week, even though the 11th Circuit partially reversed his 2007 conviction. Dominguez may not have illegally transported and harbored aliens, but he did conspire and attempt to smuggle them into the country.

For those who don't recall the trial of Gus Dominguez, he was accused of smuggling Cuban baseball players twice during 2004. Evidence showed that he paid a known drug and human trafficker to transport them by boat to Florida.

Once in the country, he housed them, fed them, and gave them money. He then signed them as clients.

Dominguez also brought them to an immigration attorney, who had the players apply for asylum. This action is what ultimately led the court to overturn the harboring and transporting convictions.

It's illegal to harbor and transport aliens for the purpose of helping them escape detection. But the government knew the players were in the country because Gus Dominguez paid for an attorney to legalize their status. They also lived openly and freely.

The impact of the court's reversal is virtually nil, as Gus Dominguez was released from prison in January after serving 5 years. And because the ruling did not impact his conviction for smuggling Cuban baseball players, he was supposed to have served the 5-year mandatory minimum anyway.

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