Agent Reportedly Indicted on Human Trafficking of Leonys Martin from Cuba

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Agent Reportedly Indicted on Human Trafficking of Leonys Martin from Cuba
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

The agent of Seattle Mariners outfielder Leonys Martin was reportedly indicted Friday for his role in helping his client defect from Cuba in 2010.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Bart Hernandez is facing human-trafficking charges in relation to the 27-year-old former Texas Rangers star.

According to ESPN.com's Scott Eden, agents from the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI arrested Hernandez on Friday in Miami. Passan added that Hernandez faces up to 20 years in prison with a minimum sentence of three years if convicted.

The indictment alleges that Hernandez conspired with convicted Cuban alien smugglers Eliezer Lazo and Joel Martinez Hernandez to illegally bring Martin to the United States from Cuba.

On Sunday, Martin released a statement, courtesy of Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal:

According to Yahoo Sports' Passan, Charles Robinson and Rand Getlin, Martin filed a lawsuit against Lazo and Martinez Hernandez in 2013, alleging that they held him and his family captive for more than six months in 2010 and 2011 to extort money from him upon signing his initial contract with the Rangers.

Martin went on to play for the Rangers from 2011 through 2015, hitting .255 with 20 home runs, 120 RBI and 84 stolen bases in parts of five seasons.

He was traded to the Mariners this past offseason and will look to build upon a disappointing 2015 campaign that saw him hit just .219 with five homers and 25 RBI.

Martin is currently signed to a one-year deal worth $4.15 million, and his previous contract was a five-year pact worth $15.5 million, as noted by Spotrac.

While relations between the United States and Cuba have begun to improve in recent months, Hernandez's indictment is a sign that the two countries have a long way to go with regard to how Cuban players make the leap to Major League Baseball.

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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