White Sox Slugger Jose Abreu Testifies That He Ate Fake Haitian Passport on Flight to Miami
Chicago White Sox slugger Jose Abreu took the stand in a federal courtroom on Wednesday. He agreed to testify in the trial of two men charged with illegally smuggling Cuban baseball players into the United States in exchange for limited immunity.
Abreu’s most amazing revelation? That would have to be the story he told about how he ate the first page of his fake Hatian passport in order to prevent authorities from finding it.
The men on trial in Miami are MLB agent Bartolo Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada. In 2013, Abreu left Cuba by boat, settling first in Haiti before crossing the border to the Dominican Republic. There he hooked up with Hernandez and Estrada, who hosted showcases that eventually landed him a six-year, $68 million contract with the White Sox. However, Abreu testified that, under the terms of their agreement, Estrada was to receive 20% of his contract, and Hernandez 5%.
After coming to an oral agreement with the White Sox, Abreu had to figure out how to get into the United States. Under U.S. immigration rules in effect for Cubans at that time, Abreu didn’t need a passport or a visa to get into the United States. He just needed to show up and he’d be allowed in. However, he did need a passport if he wanted to fly instead of taking a dangerous boat trip or pay to have himself smuggled in. So Abreu contacted a so-called “fixer” named Amin Latouff who hooked him up with a fake Haitian passport.
The one problem? Once Abreu got to U.S. immigration, they were going to ask what passport he used to board the plane, and he would be in trouble if they found him with a fake. So Latouff told him he had to get rid of it during his flight.
During the flight Abreu went to the bathroom and got rid of most of the passport there. However, he tore out the page with his picture on it.
“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,” Abreu testified.
We don’t know what Abreu told U.S. immigration authorities in Miami when they asked how he got on the plane in Haiti. But they let him leave the airport a few hours later. And now he’s a huge baseball star.
Hat Tip – [Deadspin]