Authorities in the Dominican Republic have arrested an 11th suspect in the attempted assassination of Red Sox legend David Ortiz on Tuesday.
Franklin Junior Meran was arrested after police say the found evidence that he rented one of the cars used in the shooting at a Bar in Santo Domingo, on June 9.
Ten others have previously been arrested, including the alleged shooter – but the arrests aren’t expected to end there.
Authorities say they’re looking for at least three other suspects, including Alberto Miguel Rodriguez Mota, who police believe paid the $7,800 bounty to have the hit carried out.
Franklin Junior Meran (left) was arrested after police say the found evidence that he rented one of the cars used in the shooting at a Bar in Santo Domingo, on June 9. Authorities say they’re looking for at least three other suspects, including Alberto Miguel Rodriguez Mota (right), who police believe paid the $7,800 bounty to have the hit carried out
Retired Red Sox star David Ortiz has been upgraded to a good condition by his doctors at the Boston hospital where he is recovering from gunshot wounds he sustained
Mota, 36, who remains at large, was publicly named as a suspect by prosecutors on Monday and described as a convicted drug trafficker.
Dominican newspaper Listin Diaro reported that Mota was accused in 2011 of supplying drugs to smaller drug-peddlers in Santo Domingo.
Mota, along with an accomplice, was found in possession of 500 grams of cocaine and marijuana at the time of his arrest. The pair were both sentenced for five years in prison.
The Red Sox issued a statement on Tuesday on Ortiz’s condition on behalf of his wife, Tiffany Ortiz.
The 43-year-old, who remains in intensive care at Massachusetts General Hospital, was upgraded from ‘guarded’ to ‘good’ condition.
His wife said Ortiz ‘continues to make progress with his recovery’.
The latest updates came less than 24 hours after prosecutors formally accused José Eduardo ‘Chunky’ Ciprián of requesting the hit to be carried out.
His motive remains unconfirmed. Three law enforcement sources previously told DailyMail.com that Ortiz was wanted dead by a crime boss who thought he was having an affair with his wife.
The mastermind druglord: José Eduardo Ciprián, aka Chunky, ordered the hit from prison, according to prosecutors. They will not yet confirm his motive
Gabriel Alexander Pérez Vizcaíno gave the drug lord a phone to communicate with Mota. He is in custody
The foot soldiers: Rolfy Ferreyra Cruz, 25, who police say has confessed to being the gunman, is believed to have been involved in two robberies in New Jersey. Reynaldo Rodriguez Valenzuela (right) was also arrested
The stake outs: Two other men arrested in the shooting – Porfirio Ayendi Dechamps Vásquez (left) and Joel Rodríguez de la Cruz (right) – are seen above
The motorcycle driver: Eddy Feliz Garcia (left) was driving the motorcycle and Oliver Moises Mirabal Acosta (right) was seen hopping on it
The accomplices: Luis Alfredo Rivas Clase (left) is still on the run. He is also wanted for murder in New Jersey. Lenny Estephanie Reyes Perez, aka The Venezuelan (right) is married to Oliver Moises Mirabal (above right)
Police also want to talk to Carlos Rafael Alvarez
Separately, the married former baseball star has been linked to a Dominican model who was seen brawling with another woman in the hospital, moments after the shooting, but it remains unclear if she is Chunky’s girlfriend or wife.
The plot was a sophisticated one which involved Chunky planning the hit through a series of phone communications with Alberto Miguel Rodriguez Mota.
He was given the phone by Gabriel Alexander Perez Vizcaino in prison.
Once their communication was established, Chunky ordered Mota to pay the gang of men, which he did.
Seven men and one woman, who is the wife of one of the other suspects, then conspired to carry out the attack, according to police.
On June 9, several of the men were seen in two grey Hyundai cars near the bar where Ortiz was with friends.
Two then hopped on a motorcycle and approached the scene while the gunman, Rolfy Ferreyra Cruz, approached on foot.
After shooting Ortiz at point blank range, he fled.
The others also managed to get away but Eddy Garcia, the motorcycle driver, was captured at the scene by an angry crowd and was beaten.
Over the last two weeks, police have slowly brought more and more suspects into custody.
They tracked them through the gun they used and the phone Chunky used to order the hit which was sold to a woman for $174 last week.
The Dominican Republic Attorney General’s office on Friday said the public prosecutor of Santo Domingo East will release a ‘full narrative of how the case happened,’ in the days ahead.
Police so far have arrested Ferreras Cruz; Reynaldo Rodríguez Valenzuela; Eddy Vladimir [El Nata] Féliz García; Joel [Calamardo] Rodríguez de la Cruz; and Porfirio Ayendi Dechamps Vásquez, who is known as’ El Nene’, Spanish for ‘The Kid’.
They will all be held in prison during the pretrial process along with married couple Oliver Moisés Mirabal and Lanny Estefanny Pérez Reyes.
Ciprián and Carlos Rafael [Carlos Nike] Álvarez, who serving a 20-year sentence for aggravated robbery, are also being questioned for their role in the shooting.
Ortiz’s wife, Tiffany, said on Instagram that her husband’s brush with death has given her ‘an awareness in what truly matters.’
‘Be present in every moment, don’t get hung up on gifts, material things, titles, fame or fortune. Those things can be taken away in a moment’s notice and all we are left with is the memories of the moments we truly connected and grounded ourselves in true love,’ she wrote.
Ortiz’s son, D’Angelo, also took time Sunday to show his appreciation for his recovering dad.
‘Happy Father’s Day pops love u so much,’ the 14-year-old wrote on his Instagram page.
‘U make me better and better everyday[.] If I can be half the Man U are that is a success[.] Thanks for teaching me so much[.] We only have greatness a head of us.’
Prosecutor Milciades Guzman told reporters on Friday that investigators are preparing to arrest the person who ordered the shooting.
‘His time has come. He won’t see the sun again for 40 years,’ Guzmán said, according to CNN.
Surveillance cameras captured the moment Ortiz and his friends were talking at the club that night when a gunman drove up and opened fire on him at point blank range.
One of the attacker’s bullets entered Ortiz’s back and exited his stomach.
Police have yet to confirm a motive for the attack, but they previously have said the gang of ‘sicarios’ (hitmen) tried to kill Ortiz over a 400,000 Dominican Pesos ($7,805) price on his head.
Dailymail.com last week revealed that Dominican model and YouTube beauty vlogger Maria Yeribell Martinez Garcia was the woman at the center of the alleged love triangle between Ortiz and a drugs kingpin.
She was caught on video fighting with Big Papi’s entourage in a waiting room hours after the failed ‘hit’ on June 9 in the Dominican Republic.
Garcia reportedly hasn’t been seen in public since the fight, but someone claiming to be her denied any romantic involvement with the married Ortiz during a phone interview with a Dominican TV station.
Garcia also said the love triangle rumor was ‘totally false’ in an Instagram post, but a set of images widely circulated in Dominican media in recent days appears to show that Ortiz bought her a luxury SUV the day before the shooting.
The documents included a sales agreement for a Lexus RX that lists Garcia as the owner of the new car. The document is dated June 8, the day before Ortiz was shot.
There was also a bank check made out by David Americo Ortiz Arias, the ex-all-star’s full name, showing a Bank of America check for $84,500.
The memo on the check is translated to read: ‘the vehicle purchase’. The check was dated June 10, the Monday after Ortiz was shot.
Initial reports indicated there were as many as 10 men involved in the assassination attempt, but officials have since clarified there were seven attackers.