Miami-Dade Man Sentenced to 175 Months in Prison for Extortion Conspiracy
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce the sentencing of Eliezer Lazo, 41, of Miami-Dade County. U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard sentenced Lazo to 175 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. In addition, the Court ordered Lazo to pay a $17,500 fine, and to forfeit his right to $1.49 million in cash, several real properties and a vehicle.
Lazo pled guilty to one count of conspiring to commit extortion for his role in an alien smuggling operation that moved approximately 1,000 Cuban migrants from Cuba to Mexico, and then the United States. According to court documents, many of the Cuban migrants pre-paid for their illegal journey to the United States. Other migrants were Cuban baseball players who paid for the journey by entering into a contract with Lazo’s company – Estrellas del Beisbol – in which the migrants agreed to pay Lazo a share of their respective earnings from U.S. baseball teams. A third group of migrants, comprising of approximately 100 migrants, did not pre-pay for their journey and were held and restrained in Mexico. These migrants were beaten during phone calls with family members who were forced to pay $10,000 for the release of their relatives.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI and FBI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys H. Ron Davidson and Evelyn Sheehan.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.