Retired Boston Red Sox slugger David ‘Big Papi Ortiz, three weeks ago survived an assassination attempt at a bar in the capital of Santo Domingo in his native Dominican Republic
The shooting of the baseball legend was ‘Mastermind’ by a drug trafficker targeting his own cousin rather than Ortiz, police said
Authorities in the Dominican Republic revealed that Víctor Hugo Gómez Vasquez offered $30,000 for hit men to carry out the assassination of his cousin, Sixto David Fernández
Police said the 43-year-old alleged mastermind paid only $10,000 to the hit squad for the shooting that wounded Boston Red Sox retired legend David Ortiz on June 9
Sixto David Fernández, the intended target, was seated is friends with Ortiz and was sharing a table at a local bar in Santo Domingo with Big Papi when he was shot in the back
A police spokesman said Gómez Vasquez, a suspected drug trafficker, feared Fernández would tell police of his presence in the island
Gómez, who is wanted by U.S. authorities for drug trafficking, also blamed Fernández for an earlier arrest,
Ortiz, a future baseball great, is currently recuperating at a hospital in Boston, after having his gallbladder and parts of his intestine removed in life saving surgeries
43-year-old Gómez Vasquez was apprehend during a Friday morning operation in the Caribbean Country just three weeks after Ortiz was shot in his hometown Santo Domingo.
Hours before his arrest, Gómez recorded a video in which he claimed his innocence.
‘In case something happens to me, I want to clarify the things that I have nothing to do with any murder against or attempted murder against Sixto David Fernández and much less with David’ Big Papi,’ he said.
‘I’m a family man. I have seven children and I consider myself to be a good person, I don’t harm anyone and I am not interested in harming anyone, ever,’ said Gómez, who is wanted by U.S. authorities for drug trafficking.
Gómez’s arrest appeared on a cellphone video call he placed to his family in the Dominican Republic.
At the time of the attack, Ortiz was with TV personality Jhoel López and Fernández. Ortiz was sitting with his back to the street when he was shot once in the back by a bullet that also injured López.
Both Fernández and Ortiz were said to be wearing white pants which led to the alleged confusion.
While maintaining his innocence, in the near seven-minute video, Gómez admitted that he had problems with Fernández, like family members do, but he went on to accuse him of trying to cover up his image as a person who indeed was connected with drug dealers who he would introduce to Dominicans traveling back home.
‘He approaches them leaving them luxurious, expensive cars, because he has facilities with the dealers to get them,’ Gómez charged.
‘That is the attraction he offers to those type of people, he tells them I can get you cars, you do not have to pay for motorcycle, you pay an equal part with apartments.’
Gómez said Fernández would received wire transfers from those that he befriended to cover the rental payments which most of the times were not made.
‘I have many acquaintances (with whom he) has had problems because he has that skill. He has a very expensive life, he likes expensive women, expensive cars and the only way he can solve that is in that way,’ Gómez said.
The shooting was carried out by two men on a motorcycle who were followed by several suspects in two cars, authorities said.
Junior Cesar La Hoz Vargas was the 14th person to be arrested when he was apprehended on Saturday.
He is accused of renting the apartment where accused mastermind Victor Hugo Gómez Vasquez hid out before he was captured on Friday, according to the Boston Globe.
Alberto Miguel Rodriguez Mota was also arrested on Friday. He is the alleged inside man who paid the hit men.
He was found by Dominican armed forces in a boat as he tried to flee Puerto Rico.
Gómez who was identified Wednesday as the man who ordered the June 9 shooting that wounded retired Red Sox legend David Ortiz in Santo Domingo also faces federal drug trafficking charges linked to a major case in Texas dubbed “Operation Wrecking Ball,” records show.
The suspect, Victor Hugo Gómez Vasquez, was charged in an indictment filed in Texas’s southern district in November 2018. He’s identified in the document, initially filed in November 2018 and unsealed in March, as Victor Hugo Gomez.
He’s one of 56 suspects facing charges linked to the sprawling drug ring based in south Texas.