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Scott's Miami TV ad featured convicted smuggler

Gov. Rick Scott's campaign has ended a month-long run of a campaign ad touting support from small business owners, including a Tampa man convicted of human smuggling four years ago on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten.

As first reported by the Broward Bulldog site, Maikel Duarte Torres was featured in the spot. "The ad is no longer running," Scott campaign spokesman Greg Blair said Monday, adding that the spot was removed from the airwaves last week. The Bulldog said the ad began running on one local Spanish-language station in Miami, America Teve, in late July.

The Bulldog reported that Duarte Torres, a native of Cuba, was convicted in 2011 of his role in trying to smuggle 10 Cuban migrants from St. Maarten to Miami. In the ad, Duarte Torres is seen praising Scott and saying, "I'm just like him. I'm like the American dream."

It's the second time that a Scott ad highlighted a person who has had serious run-ins with the law. The Times/Herald reported in April that a web-only ad featured Corey Alston, the former city manager of South Bay, who resigned from office after being charged with grand theft, corruption and misuse of office.

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