That country’s most notorious drug trafficker, who was once rumored to be involved in the shooting that wounded Red Sox legend David Ortiz, was taken into custody in Colombia’s Boca Grande section on Monday.
César Emilio Peralta, also known as “César the Abuser” or as “El Abusador,” , was taken into custody Monday in Cartagena, Colombia on a US warrant charging him with cocaine and heroin distribution, the attorney general’s office in Colombia announced.
Federal prosecutors in South Florida and Puerto Rico have issued an extradition request for the 44-year-old Peralta.
He is accused of running an operation that moved cocaine and heroin through Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and the United States.
Peralta’s name cropped up in June when 43-year-old Ortiz was shot in the back at a popular night club in Santo Domingo.
Shortly after the shooting, news reports speculated that the hit was ordered by Peralta over a love triangle involving Dominican model Maria Yeribell Martinez Garcia.
Investigators said retired baseball legend David Ortiz [photo], was mistakenly shot in a botched hit job targeting Sixto David Fernández at the behest of Victor Hugo Gomez Vasquez
But investigators said the retired slugger was mistakenly shot in a botched hit job in the Caribbean nation, targeting Sixto David Fernández, at the behest of Victor Hugo Gomez Vasquez.
Before his June 28 arrest, Vasquez released a video denying any involvement in the shooting and claiming Fernández was close with Peralta, without elaborating.
Dominican-born Ortiz once owned an apartment in the same luxury tower as Peralta, and the pair reportedly acknowledged each other when they crossed paths.
“No one in the Dominican Republic ever wanted to be an enemy of Peralta because everybody knew he was part of this [alleged] drug cartel,” Joe Baerlein, a spokesman for Ortiz said over the summer.
Peralta hasn’t been charged in the Ortiz shooting and authorities haven’t presented any evidence linking him to the case.
In August, the feds and Dominican law enforcement raided Peralta’s penthouse.
Some 18 suspects, including ex-Mets pitcher Octavio Dotel and infielder Luis Castillo, were nabbed in the sweep, though Peralta wasn’t captured at the time.
Dominican prosecutors claimed that Peralta often leaned on MLB stars in order to launder cash from the proceeds of his empire.
In August former MLB stars Octavio Dotel [left], and Luis Castillo [right], were both cleared of charges with being members of Peralta’s drug distribution ring in Dominican Republic after they were snared in a raid of the drug kingpin’s home
In late August Dominican Fed agents carried out a raid on the penthouse home of Cesar Emilio Peralta in the Naco Blue Tower building where Ortiz used to reside.
Dotel and Castillo were charged with being members of Peralta’s cocaine and opioid empire in what Dominican Republic Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez said was the nation’s largest operation targeting an organized-crime ring.
Ultimately, both Dotel and Castillo were cleared of any wrongdoing after a local federal judge ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to try them on money-laundering charges.
Ultimately both former MLB stars walked free from a jail in the Dominican Republic after a judge suddenly ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to link either man to drug Peralta. Judge José Alejandro Vargas declared that the drug-trafficking charges against the men were without merit.
Peralta is wanted for the distribution of thousands of kilos of cocaine and marijuana from Colombia to the US and Europe, lived in the penthouse of the Luxury Naco Blue Tower building, where Ortiz also had an apartment, before he decided to sell it
In August Dominican federal agents, wielding automatic weapons and their faces covered with black balaclavas stood sentry outside the luxury Tower while their counterparts searched Peralta’s apartment on the 15th floor.
Earlier, they had arrested Peralta’s wife, Marisol Franco, on suspicion of money laundering. Federal agents also took her four children into custody.