PI: Jealous Drug Kingpin Had David Ortiz Shot

Findings of private investigators contradict Dominican prosecutors' account of the crime
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 21, 2022 1:33 AM CDT
PI: Drug Kingpin Targeted David Ortiz, Had Him Shot
Former Boston Red Sox's David Ortiz prepares to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before a baseball game against the New York Yankees in Boston, Sept. 9, 2019.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

(Newser) – A Dominican drug trafficker who was jealous of David Ortiz and felt disrespected by him had him shot at a Dominican nightclub in 2019, according to private investigators the Red Sox slugger hired to look into the attack that nearly killed him. The findings by former Boston police commissioner Edward Davis reported by the Boston Globe on Saturday contradict the theory of the crime developed by Dominican prosecutors, the AP reports. Davis told the newspaper that he identified the drug-trafficker César Peralta as having orchestrated the shooting by placing a bounty on Ortiz and sanctioning the hit squad that tried to kill him. Dominican authorities did not cooperate with the private investigation.

Peralta is being held without bail in Puerto Rico on unrelated charges of conspiracy to import cocaine and heroin. The US Treasury designated Peralta a drug kingpin in 2019 and he was extradited to the US territory in December. Ortiz’s spokesperson, Joe Baerlein, told the Globe that Davis’ findings were withheld for Ortiz’s safety until Peralta was in US custody. 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.”

Ortiz told the Globe he knew Peralta only casually and that he was “sad, confused, angry, all kinds of emotions” when he received the news from Davis and Ric Prado, a former high-ranking CIA official who participated in the inquiry. Dominican authorities have said the target was meant to be Sixto David Fernandez, who was sharing a table with Ortiz when he was shot. Authorities said the hit men confused Fernandez with Ortiz, one of the most popular Dominican ballplayers ever. Thirteen people have been charged in relation to Ortiz’s shooting and are awaiting trial in the Dominican Republic.

(Read more David Ortiz stories.)

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