Livan Hernandez faces scrutiny after PR drug trial
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Federal justice officials will meet with Major League Baseball representatives after the name of Washington Nationals pitcher Livan Hernandez surfaced in the trial of a convicted drug dealer.
Prosecutors presented evidence at the trial ending Tuesday that Puerto Rican drug dealer Angel Ayala Vazquez had a Porsche, a Lamborghini and a warehouse containing a recording studio, a barber shop and a car repair shop registered in Hernandez's name.
U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez and Javier Pena, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Caribbean division, said Wednesday they will meet with MLB officials in two weeks at baseball's request.
MLB officials had made the request during the trial, they said.
Federal prosecutor Jacqueline Novas, who investigated the case, said it is possible that federal officials will further investigate Ayala's connections to celebrities, including Hernandez.
"We are going to look closely at those individuals," she said, declining further comment.
Hernandez told The Associated Press that he wouldn't comment on the matter. He said all questions should go through the Nationals' public relations staff.
"The Nationals are aware of and are monitoring the situation as it pertains to the Angel Manuel Ayala trial in Puerto Rico," team spokesman John Dever said.
Hernandez defected from Cuba in 1995, and went on to help the Florida Marlins win the World Series two years later.
Evidence presented during the trial showed that Ayala allegedly paid Puerto Rican reggaeton singers, including Daddy Yankee and Wisin y Yandel, along with merengue singer Elvis Crespo, in cash to perform at Christmas parties at a public housing complex.
Ayala, better known as "Angelo Millones," was once considered the island's top drug dealer. He was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, heroin and pills at public housing projects in the community of Bayamon. Also convicted was his brother, Luis Cruz Vazquez.
Sentencing was set for Aug. 8.
AP Sports Writers Howard Fendrich in Washington, D.C., and Howie Rumberg in New York contributed to this report.