Private investigator hired by David Ortiz says a Dominican drug kingpin ‘jealous of his fame’ hired a hitman to take out the MLB hall of famer
Boston’s former top cop Edward Davis led a private investigation that found a Dominican drug lord ordered David Ortiz’s June 2019 shooting
The former Red Sox slugger was shot at a bar in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on June 9, 2019
The six-month investigation reported that César Emilio Peralta, 48, who has been in federal custody since December 2021, hired a hit squad to carry out the botched hit job
Report contradicts local authorities’ theory that the shooter, Rolfi Ferreira, mistook Ortiz for someone else
Peralta, who is being held in Puerto Rico on federal drug trafficking charges, reportedly plotted the shooting because he was envious of Ortiz’s fame
He’s denied involvement in a leaked audio message days after the shooting, saying that he considered Ortiz ‘a brother’
A Dominican drug lord who envied the popularity of former MLB star David Ortiz reportedly ordered his assassination at a Dominican Republic nightspot, according to a private investigation commissioned by Ortiz and headed by former Boston Police commissioner Edward Davis.
Davis’ six-month findings were reported by the Boston Globe on Saturday – a direct contradiction of earlier claims by prosecutors in the Caribbean island that the shooter confused Ortiz for another person.
Davis told the newspaper that César Peralta plotted the botched execution by placing a bounty on the former Boston Red Sox slugger and sanctioning the hit squad that tried to kill him on June 9, 2019. Dominican authorities did not cooperate with the private investigation, which also included the participation of a former CIA official, Ric Prado.
They have always claimed the target was meant to be Sixto David Fernández, who was sharing a table with Ortiz when he was shot. Authorities said the hit men confused Fernández with Ortiz, one of the most popular Dominican ballplayers ever.
‘I accept what Ed and Ric are telling me, but how come no one in the Dominican justice system has told me this is how it went down?’ Ortiz told the Boston Globe. ‘Instead, it’s the opposite.’
Reports put out by Dominican Republic authorities state that the hit the retired Red Sox star was for $400,000 Dominican pesos, or about $7,800 U.S. dollars.
Ortiz had joined friends at Dial Bar and Lounge for a night out in the capital, Santo Domingo, when the shooter Ramon ‘Rolfie’ Martinez Perez, approached the group’s sidewalk table and fired a shot at Ortiz.
A local business owner, Eliezer Salvador, helped Ortiz into the front passenger seat of his sports car and rushed him to Abel González Clinic.
Doctors removed Ortiz´s gallbladder and part of his intestine after the shooting and he underwent further surgery in the U.S.
Video footage shot by a local reporter showed Peralta flanked by a group of men walking outside the hospital entrance. Another video recorded by the same journalist showed Peralta standing with former major leaguer, Neifi Perez, in a parking lot.
Peralta, who was extradited from Colombia to Puerto Rico in December 2021 and is being held without bail on unrelated charges of money laundering and conspiracy to import cocaine and heroin, according to the Diario Libre. Peralta has maintained that he was never involved in ordering the hit
Ortiz´s spokesperson, Joe Baerlein, told the Boston Globe that Davis´ report was withheld for Ortiz´ safety until Peralta was in U.S. custody.
‘Everything we were turning up was that there was an active hit on David, that someone wanted him eliminated, namely Peralta,’ Davis said.
‘Peralta was sitting on millions of dollars in illicit funds that he had access to, and the Colombian jails are notoriously leaky. You can run operations out of a Colombian jail that you can’t run out of a United States prison. We were concerned about it.’
According to Joe Baerlein, spokesperson for Ortiz, the Davis´ report was withheld for Ortiz´ safety Peralta distanced himself from the shooting in an audio recording that was leaked on social media several days after the shooting and claimed to have remained at the facility assisting Ortiz’s loved ones.
‘My brother, the great thing is that David is like my brother. We were neighbors for four years. I have never had a woman that was David’s,’ said Peralta, who in 2019 was designated as a drug kingpin by the Treasury Department. ‘When he comes from over there (the United States), he brings me my perfume, my gift, my sneakers.’
Authorities in the Dominican Republic initially said the Ferreira was offered at least $8,000 to carry out the execution.
Peralta has not been charged in relation to Ortiz’s shooting. Peralta’s lawyer, Joaquin Perez, said Peralta had nothing to do with the attempt on Ortiz’s life.
‘As bad as César Peralta is, it’s not even close to being in the ballpark to say he had something to do with this,’ Perez said.
Perez described Ortiz and Peralta as ‘close friends.’
Surveillance footage of the shooting was dissected at MIT and the investigative team discovered that after Ferreira shot Ortiz in the back, the pointed his weapon at Fernández face and pulled the trigger, but the bullet got jammed. He attempted a second time to shoot Fernández, but couldn’t get the shot off before he escaped.
Ortiz told the Boston Globe he knew Peralta only casually and that he was ‘sad, confused, angry, all kinds of emotions’ when he received the news.
Ortiz would visit some of the high-end nightclubs that were owned by Peralta and would pose for photos with him.
Ortiz also lived a floor below Peralta in a luxury condominium building and once complained about a loud party held in the late hours of the night. He said he decided to move out ‘because it was too obvious there were a lot of weird-looking people going into the building, and I wasn’t feeling comfortable.’
It was rumored that Peralta ordered the shooting because Ortiz had a fling with a wife or girlfriend of Peralta, which he denied to the Boston Globe.
Baerlein also rejected the argument that shooting was caused by a check that Ortiz allegedly wrote to a María Martínez to purchase a Lexus, which drew the ire of Peralta. He said an image of the check that was picked up by the media in the Dominican Republic was not legit.
Ortiz did provide money for Martínez, with whom he would visit Peralta’s nightclubs, but it was not enough to cover the cost of the luxury vehicle.
Martínez also denied being romantically involved with Peralta.
‘While David appreciates the thoroughness of (the) report, he awaits further legal action in the Dominican and U.S. courts to bring final clarity and answers on why this happened to him,’ Baerlein said.
Thirteen people have been charged in relation to Ortiz´s shooting and are awaiting trial in the Dominican Republic.
Among them is Hugo Gómez, an alleged member of the Gulf Cartel, who is said to have organized the squad of assassins.
David and Prado concurred with law enforcement investigators in the Dominican Republic that while Fernández was targeted, Peralta was the mastermind of the attack.
Prado said Peralta all along thought, ”OK, I’m being told I gotta whack this guy and he happens to be meeting with Ortiz, who has been pissing me off and stealing my sunshine. This is an opportunity for me to get rid of two problems at once.’
Ortiz became the fourth Dominican-born elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first appearance on the ballot in January. The 10-time Major League All-Star helped the Red Sox end their 86-year championship drought in 2004 and batted .688 against the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013 to win the Series MVP.
He retired after the 2016 season with 541 home runs, and the team retired his uniform No. 34.
Ortiz told the Globe he wants to know why anyone might want him dead, but ‘the most important thing is, thank God I´m alive.’
He sought out Davis because he had doubts with the progress of the investigation, which was headed by Jean Alain Rodríguez, who was the attorney general at the time of the shooting.
Ortiz said Rodríguez reached out to him two months after the murder attempt, with a plea that he make a public statement to support the prosecution’s claim that the shooting was the case of mistaken identity.
‘We understood the attorney general was trying to make [Peralta’s possible involvement] go away because if Peralta went down, many people in the government were going to go down,’ Prado told the Boston Globe.
Rodríguez was arrested in 2021 on corruption charges not linked to the Ortiz shooting.
‘To be honest, when you live in a country where justice is corrupted, you want to believe (what the government alleges),’ Ortiz said, ‘but you also will disagree, and that was what was going on at the time.’