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Smuggler sentenced to over 14 years

MIAMI -- A judge has imposed a prison sentence of more than 14 years on the convicted ringleader of a smuggling organization that brought more than 1,000 Cubans into the U.S., including several baseball players.

Eliezer Lazo pleaded guilty in August to extortion charges involving the migrants, including Texas Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin. Other ballplayers are identified only by initials.

U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard on Monday rejected Lazo's request for a lighter sentence.

The organization brought Cubans by boat to Mexico. They then crossed the U.S. border in Texas for $10,000 per person, more for ballplayers. Court documents show the smugglers paid fees to the Zetas drug cartel to operate in their territory in Mexico.

Lazo is already serving a five-year sentence for money laundering in an unrelated Medicare fraud case.