Soccer Star Busted in Mexico Kidnappings
Omar Ortiz allegedly helped gang identify rich targets to kidnap
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2012 8:05 AM CST
Suspended first-division soccer goalkeeper Omar "El Gato'' Ortiz, right, arrested for alleged participation in a kidnapping ring, is escorted by state police along with alleged accomplice Hector Eduardo...   (AP Photo/Hans Maximo Musielik)
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(Newser) – A disgraced Mexican soccer goalkeeper has been arrested for allegedly helping a gang of kidnappers, reports MSNBC. Omar Ortiz, known as "El Gato" ("The Cat"), is accused of helping a gang identify rich targets for kidnapping, earning more than 10% of each victim's $73,000 ransom. Ortiz was goalkeeper for many years for the top division Monterrey team, but he was banned for two years in 2010 for testing positive for steroids. If convicted, Ortiz faces up to 50 years in prison.

"I'm speechless," said one Mexico expert. "I suppose it's an indication of the possible ubiquity of organized crime." Monterrey is one of many Mexican cities that has been mired in heavy violence from the ongoing drug cartel wars. Click to read about Mexico's bloody toll in 2011.