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Former MLB star Octavio Dotel linked to biggest drug bust in D.R. history

By
Alex Butler
Former Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Octavio Dotel played for 13 different teams during his 15-year Major League Baseball career, the second-most in league history. File Photo by Molly Riley/UPI
Former Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Octavio Dotel played for 13 different teams during his 15-year Major League Baseball career, the second-most in league history. File Photo by Molly Riley/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Former Major League Baseball pitcher Octavio Dotel has been connected to one of the largest drug busts in Dominican Republic history.

Dotel was among 18 people implicated in connection with drug trafficker Cesar Emilio Peralta, according to a news release from Dominican Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez. Several Dominican news outlets published videos and photos of Dotel being handcuffed and taken into custody.

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Rodriguez also cited "Luis Castillo" in the news release, but the attorney for the former Major League Baseball star said Castillo was never contacted by Dominican authorities and was not arrested.

"It's extremely disturbing," attorney Darren Heitner told UPI Wednesday.

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Heitner said Castillo first heard about being cited in the release through articles published by various news outlets.

"There is no truth to the allegation that Luis Castillo has been arrested," Heitner tweeted Tuesday. "He is with his family in the U.S. Luis & his family ask that all media outlets writing on the 'story' retract their false statements of fact, including reference to an Instagram account that he doesn't own."

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The former Florida Marlins, Minnesota Twins and New York Mets second baseman is the most-notable "Luis Castillo" in MLB history. Castillo, 43, was a three-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner and a World Series champion in 2003 with the Marlins. Castillo had a 15-year career from 1996 through 2010. The Cincinnati Reds also have a pitcher with the same name.

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Dotel, 45, has not released any public statements on the matter.

The 2011 World Series champion also played 15 seasons from 1999 through 2013. He owned a 3.78 ERA, posted a 59-50 record and had 109 saves in 758 games for the Mets, Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees, Kansas City Royals, Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies, Toronto Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers.

Dotel's 13 teams were a record for the most teams played for in MLB history until the mark was broken by Edwin Jackson in May.

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Rodriguez called the drug trafficking structure one of the most important in the Caribbean region, the United States and the Dominican Republic. The DEA, FBI and Department of Justice and other outlets of the U.S. government and police participated in the operation. Dominican officials said a 1,050-kilogram shipment of drugs heading from South America to Puerto Rico was among several seizures made linked to the ring.

"To enter and launder the illicit money obtained from drug trafficking, César El Abusador also created a complicated corporate framework to disguise the origin of his fortune, also using numerous individuals belonging to his family and social circle to hide his assets, including two sports figures of the Dominican Republic that we will present to you," Rodriguez said.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury identified Peralta and the Peralta Drug Trafficking Organization as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

Peralta -- also known as "Cesar the Abuser" -- remains at large.

"In the early hours of [Tuesday], a team of more than 700 people, consisting of more than 50 career prosecutors, assisted by 150 support servers and more than 500 agents from the National Drug Control Directorate and members of the Ministry of Defense, and having the proper judicial orders, proceeded to arrest Baltazar Mesa, alias 'Baltazar' or 'El Maestro'; José Jesús Tapia Pérez, aka 'Bola Negra,' 'Bola,' 'Boludo' or 'Juan Carlos López' and Sergio Gómez Díaz, aka 'Sergio René Gómez Díaz,' who are the main leaders of the criminal network that directed 'César El Abusador,'" Rodriguez said.

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The U.S. Department of the Treasury said Peralta and his organization "used violence and corruption in the Dominican Republic to traffic tons of cocaine and opioids into the United States in Europe."

"Treasury is targeting these Dominican drug kingpins, their front persons, and the nightclubs they have used to launder money and traffic women," Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker said.

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