White Sox Player José Abreu Ate Fake Passport In Smuggling Cover-Up
Under a grant of limited immunity, White Sox star José Abreu delivered a shocking testimony in the trial of Florida-based sports agent Bartolo Hernandez and baseball trainer Julio Estrada on Wednesday (Mar. 1).
Before a Miami federal court, the first baseman shared that he consumed a page of his fake Haitian passport while en route to the United States as a means to cover up his participation in a Cuban ballplayer smuggling operation, Sun Sentinel reports. “I went back to my seat, I ordered a beer—a Heineken beer—and then, little by little, I swallowed that first page of the passport,” the 2014 AL Rookie of the Year said.
Abreu explained that his illegal trek was nothing more than a desperate attempt to meet an October 2013 deadline for the $68 million contract he would later sign with Chicago. Once he arrived in Miami via his Air France flight, he was allowed to remain in the U.S. under the now-rescinded "wet foot, dry foot" policy.
The professional baseball player also confessed that Hernandez and his partners negotiated his deal with the White Sox while Estrada oversaw his training and lodging in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, according to ESPN.
However, Abreu maintained that neither played a part in his decision to obtain false travel documents. It was Amin Latouff, a man indicted with both men yet not arrested, that helped him carry out his plan. "I trusted that he was someone who could help me and I confided in him that secret," he testified.
The nearly month-old trial is expected to continue for a few more weeks.