A Drug Kingpin Accused Of Ordering The Shooting Of David Ortiz Was Arrested In Colombia For Drug Smuggling
A Dominican drug kingpin was arrested in Colombia, just hours before an international flight, and it’s raising questions about his connection to the shooting of baseball legend David “Big Papi” Ortiz. “César the Abuser” Emilio Peralta had arrived by yacht from the Dominican Republic to Cartagena, Colombia, where authorities arrested him in Bocagrande, a wealthy neighborhood in the country’s entertainment capital. Peralta became known as one of the Dominican Republic’s most powerful drug kingpins, operating a drug trafficking scheme to move heroin and cocaine from Colombia and Venezuela through the Dominican Republic and the United States. His operation was so significant, the FBI had offered a $100,000 reward for any information leading to his arrest, which Peralta had been evading since August 2018.
Peralta has passionately denied any involvement in Ortiz’s shooting.
“David is like my brother. We were neighbors for four years. I have never been with one of David’s women and David was never involved with any of mine. When David comes from out there [the United States] he brings me my perfume, my gift, my sneakers. David is crazy with my children. My children love him,” Peralta reportedly said in an audio recording.
Meanwhile, Ortiz’s spokesman, Joe Baerlein told The New York Post that Ortiz sold his condo after he saw “Peralta’s thugs hanging out in the building.” The conflicting reports have led to questions about Peralta’s involvement in Ortiz’s shooting.
Rumors spread that Ortiz was involved in a love triangle with Peralta that reached a breaking point the day before his shooting.
The local paper, El Dominicano, reported that Ortiz had bought Peralta’s girlfriend, Dominican model Maria Yeribell Martinez Garcia, a luxury Lexus SUV. The June 8 report included an alleged ownership pink slip in Martinez Garcia’s name along with a check signed by Ortiz. On June 9, Ortiz was shot several times in the back while enjoying a drink at the Dial Bar and Lounge in East Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Ortiz immediately underwent a 6-hour surgery, during which portions of his intestines, colon, and his entire gallbladder were removed. On June 10, the Red Sox sent a medical flight to bring Ortiz for two more surgeries at Massachusetts General Hospital.
At the hospital, Martinez Garcia was captured on video fighting with another woman, Fary Almanzar Fernandez, in the waiting room for Ortiz. Ortiz’s spokesman told The New York Post that Ortiz “considers her a friend and he has been seen with her at public places with other people around,” and that El Papi did not buy her a car.
Peralta has not been formally charged in any connection to Ortiz’s shooting.
The Daily Mail reports that Peralta was captured on video surveillance walking outside the medical facility in the “moments after” Ortiz’s shooting. Authorities have emphasized that Ortiz was not the intended target of the attempted assassination, but rather was ordered by Mexican drug lord Victor Hugo Gomez Vasquez and intended for his cousin, Sixto David Fernández. Remarkably, the shooter shot Ortiz because he was wearing white pants, which resembled the blurry photo of the intended mark, which was obscured by a white object. Gomez Vasquez was arrested on June 28, along with Alberto Miguel Rodriguez Mota, who allegedly took that fateful photo of Ortiz and Fernández.
Ortiz was released from Mass. General six weeks after his shooting, and was still unable to eat food.
Peralta’s two-decade reign over his Latin American cocaine and heroin trafficking trade seems to be over.
Puerto Rican FBI officials say that Peralta had been conducting an illicit drug trade since 1997. In 2000, Peralta was arrested in Santo Domingo for possessing more than four kilos of cocaine. In 2007, he was linked to a 215 kilos shipment of cocaine, but not convicted. The United States announced charges against Peralta in August and raided 40 properties linked to Peralta, including the condo that once shared the same building as Ortiz’s residence.
“Cesar Emilio Peralta and his criminal organization have used violence and corruption in the Dominican Republic to traffic tons of cocaine and opioids into the United States and Europe. Treasury is targeting these Dominican drug kingpins, their front persons, and the nightclubs they have used to launder money and traffic women,” the Terrorism and Financial Intelligence agency said in a statement. Two MLB players were arrested and later released for allegedly laundering Peralta’s drug money. Officials state that more information will be released later.