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What Happened To Yasiel Puig? Illegal Gambling Case And Controversy

Yasiel Puig Credit: AP Photo/Phil Long
Yasiel Puig Credit: AP Photo/Phil Long

Yasiel Puig, nicknamed “The Wild Horse,” is a Cuban-born US professional baseball player. He had an interest in sports from a very young age. He had been playing baseball since he was 9. He was born In Cienfuegos, a city in Cuba. His parents are Omar Puig and maritza Valdes. 

He began his career by playing for the Cuban national baseball team. It was during his junior year. He then migrated to the Cienfuegos team of the Cuban National Series. In 2012 he became a part of Major League Baseball (MBL) by joining the Los Angeles Dodgers. He then joined the Cincinnati Reds in 2018. Puig was transferred to the Cleveland Indians in 2019.

Adventures of Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig for Cleveland Indians Credit: David Dermer/USATODAYSports

Yasiel Puig for Cleveland Indians Credit: David Dermer/USATODAYSports

Puig’s journey to come to America was indeed a dangerous one. He tried to defect to Mexico 13 times. Defection is done when a person gets out of a country to which they have allegiance and take up the allegiance of another country. In a way, it is changing sides. It only becomes defective if the first country considers this change illegitimate.  

Puig tried to get out of Cuba and go to Mexico 13 times in the hope that he could be a part of the MLB. The first time he tried to defect to Mexico was in 2009. He was just 19 years old. Unfortunately, this escape was caught by the police. The second time his plans failed when the boat they had arranged did not show up. The third time it was the police again. 

He finally succeeds in getting to Mexico with the help of a drug cartel. There is a rumor that Raul Pacheco, the president of Miami-based T&P Metal and PY Recycling, helped him get out of Cuba by paying the smuggler $250000. It was Pacheco who rescued him from the murderous drug cartel. 

The matters even worsened when they found the captain of the ship they escaped was found dead. It is said that Puig testified against the Cuban Boxer Miguel Angel Corbacho Daudinot in regard to the murder. 

Sexual Allegation Against Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig Credit: Getty Image

Yasiel Puig Credit: Getty Image

Puig was accused of sexual harassment multiple times. In 2021 an ESPN report stated that there was a woman who accused Puig of sexually assaulting her in a Los Angeles Lakers game. The woman filed a lawsuit against him. Puig denied this statement. He eventually settled the lawsuit in 2021. 

There was also another report by The Washington Post, which claimed that there were two other women who accused Puig of sexual harassment. The article also mentions that Puig settled the lawsuit secretly. 

Caught in the midst of the sexual assault accusations, Puig did not come back to the MLB. He was busy settling the lawsuit. He denied the claim of these women. He said it was a false accusation. He cleared all the lawsuits against him, and in a statement, he expressed his wish to get back to the game. 

Yasiel Puig’s Illegal Gambling Case

Yasiel Puig Credit: AP Photo/Tony dejak

Yasiel Puig, baseball player Credit: AP Photo/Tony dejak

In 2019 Puig was accused of betting on sports events through an illegal gambling operation. According to the Court documents, the gambling operation was run by Wayne Nix, a former minor league player. It was started in L.A. in 2001. Puig came to know about this operation in 2019, and since then, he has been betting through them on a number of sports events. 

The federal agents have evidence of the cashier’s check that he purchased. Despite this evidence, Puig denied the association with Nix’s operations. The authorities said that he lied to them several times when questioned about his association with the illegal gambling operation. In a statement released by the authorities, he claimed that he did not know what he was getting into; he placed a bet and lost money. 

On 14th November 2022, a court document stated that Yasiel Puig had agreed to plead guilty. He was pleading guilty to making a false statement to the federal authorities. This is a serious offense and could get him into federal prison for up to five years. For now, he has agreed to pay the fine of $55,000. 

This could seriously affect his baseball career. Though he was taking a sabbatical from MLB, he was set to make an international career by playing in South Korea. 

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