Article Alleges Dodgers Player Yasiel Puig Was Smuggled by Drug Cartel

The highly researched exposé, published Sunday in Los Angeles Magazine, claims Puig was smuggled out of Cuba by a Mexican drug cartel that wanted a cut of Puig’s eventual multimillion dollar salary.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dodger's superstar outfielder Yasiel Puig has had a controversial road out of his home, Cuba, to the United States. Conan Nolan reports from Dodgers Stadium for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. (Published Friday, Apr 18, 2014)

    The background of Los Angeles Dodgers right-fielder Yasiel Puig is making headlines after an article in Los Angeles Magazine alleges that the baseball player was smuggled into the United States by a drug cartel.

    "Jesse Katz's article about Puig's path from Cuba to LA (is) filled with danger, extortion, drug money, death threats," sportscaster Petros Papdakis said on the "Petros & Money" radio show Tuesday.

    Dashboard Video Shows Dodgers' Yasiel Puig Arrest After Allegedly Speeding

    [LA] Dashboard Video Shows Dodgers' Yasiel Puig Arrest After Allegedly Speeding
    The Florida Highway Patrol released dashboard camera video of Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig being arrested after he was pulled over for speeding on Dec. 28, 2013. The trooper said he clocked Puig driving a Mercedes-Benz at 110 mph with several passengers in the car, including his mother. (Published Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014)

    The highly researched exposé, published Sunday, claims Puig was smuggled out of Cuba by a Mexican drug cartel that wanted a cut of Puig’s eventual multimillion dollar salary.

    Puig Surprises Little Leaguers

    [LA] Puig Surprises Little Leaguers
    The Dodgers' Yasiel Puig surprised a group of children on a little league baseball team in Elysian Park, pitching for them and playing around a bit before signing autographs. Fred Roggin reports for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Oct. 24, 2013. (Published Friday, Oct 25, 2013)

    According to the article, a Miami-based air-conditioning repairman named Raul Pacheco funded the transportation of Puig to Mexico by the Los Zetas Mexican drug cartel in June 2012. The smugglers then held Puig in a hotel for weeks while trying to extract more money from Pacheco. The smugglers allegedly even threatened to mutilate Puig, and in turn jeopardize his baseball career, as part of the extortion.

    "You have to somehow associate with unsavory people and be part of this criminal pipeline that’s going to deliver you," said Jesse Katz, the journalist who wrote the piece.

    Katz said similar situation have happened before with other Cuban exiles.

    Both the Dodgers and Major League Baseball would not comment on the allegations.

    The LA Times’ Bill Plaschke suggested Tuesday that if the drug cartel is upset with a lack of payment, it could be a safety risk for the Dodgers.

    LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck would not discuss specifics in terms of added security around Puig, but did say that the department works "very closely with the Dodgers and adjusts "deployment based on the needs."

    Puig signed a 7-year contract with the Dodgers for $42 million.

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