Two former New York Mets players have been accused of drugs trafficking and money laundering, in a take-down billed the ‘largest operation against organized crime’ to ever occur in the Dominican Republic.
Authorities said Tuesday that Octavio Dotel, 45, and Luis Castillo, 43, belonged to a powerful gang that used approximately 20 luxury apartments, 10 restaurants and 15 nightclubs where women trafficked from Colombia and Venezuela worked under drugs kingpin Cesar Emilio Peralta.
Investigators believe a significant portion of the crimes related to narcotics took place inside the Santa Domingo nightlife venues owned by Peralta and named as VIP Room, Flow Gallery Lounge, Aqua Club, and La Kuora.
Dotel was taken into custody in the Dominican Republic Tuesday.
Authorities were reportedly still looking for Castillo, who denied any involvement on Tuesday.
Castillo spent 14 years playing for the Mets, Blue Jays, Marlins and Twins and is believed to have earned $56.8million.
Octavio Dotel (right), 45, and Luis Castillo (left), 43, are among the accused in a drugs trafficking case dubbed the ‘largest operation against organized crime’ to ever occur in Dominican Republic
Castillo – who has earned $56.8million – posted online: ‘Do you believe after making millions of dollars in baseball, I’m going to get hands dirty with drugs?’
‘The truth is that my country is no longer any good. My God, do you believe that after making millions of dollars in baseball, I’m going to get my hands dirty with drugs?’ he posted on a video of the news on Instagram.
Peralta had deleted his Instagram posts Tuesday. Known as ‘Cesar the Abuser’, Peralta was initially suspected of shooting Red Sox legend David Ortiz earlier this year.
Aside from Peralta – who has a lengthy criminal record related to trafficking narcotics and violence – the Peralta Drug Trafficking Organization contains eight other major figures, according to the US Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Dotel and Castillo were two of 18 others accused in the case.
Cesar Emilio Peralta runs the Peralta Drug Trafficking Organization
Of the top eight members, major Dominican drug traffickers Ramon Antonio del Rosario Puente (a.k.a. ‘Toño Leña) and Kelvin Enrique Fernandez Flaquer (a.k.a. ‘Cotto’), were named.
Del Rosario Puente was arrested in May 2018 by Colombian authorities and is currently awaiting extradition to the United States on charges of narcotics trafficking conspiracy.
His son, Jeifrey del Rosario Gautier, is also said to be involved and was arrested Tuesday.
Yader Rafael Jaquez Araujo – a music promoter who goes by the nickname, Jake Mate – and former Dominican military officer, Carlos Ariel Fernandez Concepcion, were also named as helping Peralto.
They coordinated the transshipment of ‘ton-quantities of cocaine and significant quantities of opioids through the Dominican Republic and onward to consumer markets in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe’, the Treasury stated.
The organization also transferred bulk proceeds for the drugs from the United States to the Dominican Republic and laundered the money mainly via the nightlife venues.
Agents of the Dominican National Drug Control Board (DNCD) and the Prosecutor’s Office participate in the dismantling operation of a drug trafficking network, in Santo Domingo
The operation is the ‘broadest and deepest’ in the fight against drug trafficking in the country, Dominican Prosecutor Jean Alain Rodriguez said
Members of the Calm City Task Force (CIUTRAN) brigade of the Dominican Army, take part in the dismantling operation of a drug trafficking network, in Santo Domingo
Ramon Antonio del Rosario Puente (left, a.k.a. ‘Toño Leña) and Boarnerges Sanchez Nolasco (right)
‘Cesar Emilio Peralta and his criminal organization have used violence and corruption in the Dominican Republic to traffic tons of cocaine and opioids into the United States and Europe. Treasury is targeting these Dominican drug kingpins, their front persons, and the nightclubs they have used to launder money and traffic women,’ said Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
‘This Administration continues to systematically target strategically important drug kingpins and cartels fueling our country’s opioid epidemic.’
In connection with the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, teams were seen dragging assets out of a property, in a video obtained by CDN.
Kelvin Enrique Fernandez Flaquer (a.k.a. ‘Cotto’), and Yader Rafael Jaquez Araujo – a music promoter who goes by the nickname, Jake Mate – were named as some involved in the crimes based out of Santa Domingo
Jhonan Alexander Martinez Urena (left) and former Dominican military officer, Carlos Ariel Fernandez Concepcion, (right)
The Treasury said as a result of the investigation by the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration, all assets and interests of those involved were blocked and must be reported.
The full extent of what other property the alleged gang had connected to the crimes is unknown but from Dotel alone, cops reportedly seized four cars.
Dotel – who started out with the Mets in 1999 and pitched for the Yankees in 2006 – played with 13 major league baseball teams in his 15-year career.
Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1,466,485 per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million.
Bernardo Antonio Valdez Garcia (left) and Natanael Castro Cordero (right)
An agent of the Dominican National Drug Control Board (DNCD) and a soldier take part in the dismantling operation of a drug trafficking network, in Santo Domingo