Two Ex-MLB Players Accused Of Participating In Drug-Trafficking Ring

By Paul Gaita 08/23/19

Both men have claimed to have no involvement with the Caribbean drug-trafficking operation. 

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Two former Major League Baseball (MLB) players have been linked to a drug trafficking and money laundering operation in the Dominican Republic.

Former pitcher Octavio Dotel and ex-infielder Luis Castillo—both Dominican-born and both World Series Winners in 2011 and 2003, respectively—were accused by authorities of helping to launder profits from a drug ring overseen by César "The Abuser" Peralta, whom authorities said is in charge of one of the "most important drug trafficking structures in the Caribbean."

Dotel was taken into custody in the Dominican Republic on Monday (Aug. 19), while Castillo remained at home in Florida; both men have claimed no involvement with Peralta's organization.

Laundering Profits

The implications were announced by the attorney general of the Dominican Republic, Jean Alain Rodríguez, on Wednesday (Aug. 21). CNN noted that while charges against the two former MLB players remain unspecified, both were accused of laundering profits from Peralta's drug operation as part of a larger network of businesses and individuals, including family members.

"Eighteen other people are linked to this network, including athletes and baseball players Octavio Dotel and Luis Castillo," said Rodriguez at a news conference. He added that Dominican authorities, in conjunction with the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), were cooperating in the search for Peralta and the 18 aforementioned individuals.

The New York Times stated that the investigation by Dominican officials has already seized a 1,050-kilogram shipment of drugs from South America that was linked to Peralta's alleged ring.

Castillo Speaks

Castillo responded to the accusation on social media, where he wrote, "The truth is my country no longer works, my God, do you think that after making millions in Baseball I am going to dirty my hands with drugs?"

Castillo's attorney, Darren Heitner, told CNN that he "simply lack[ed] any information whatsoever" about the allegations against his client, and claimed that the Dominican attorney general's office hung up on him when he called to inquire about the indictment.

Neither news organization listed a comment from Dotel.

Castillo was a three-time All-Star and Gold Glove second baseman whose 15-year major league career included a World Series title as part of the Florida Marlins in 2003 and stints with the Minnesota Twins and New York Mets.

Dotel held the record for playing for the largest number of teams—13 between 1999 and 2013. He earned his World Series ring as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011. Two years later, he also claimed the World Baseball Classic title as part of the Dominican team.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites. 

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