For professional athletes, life after sports can be difficult. When you’ve spent every day for years and years doing one very specific and specialized skill, flipping the off switch and trying to lead a normal life has to be incredibly tough. Some athletes open their own businesses, some become analysts, some just live off their fame, and some join extremely dangerous and infamous drug trafficking rings.
About that last one…
Former MLB reliever Octavio Dotel, notable for pitching for THIRTEEN different teams during his 14-year career, was arrested in the Dominican Republic on Monday for reportedly being a part of one of the biggest drug-running circles in the Carribean. In addition, former Florida Marlins second baseman and three-time All-Star Luis Castillo, not the one on the Reds, is also being hunted by the police for potentially being tied to the group.
What. Is. Happening.
Why is Octavio Dotel, a man who made over $16 million over the course of his playing career, in business with a Dominican drug lord? Luis Castillo, who has yet to be arrested, put it best in his Instagram post when he said, “do you think that after making millions of dollars in Baseball I am going to dirty my hands with drugs?” Pretty good point there, Luis.
This whole situation stems from the syndicate leader, Cesar Peralta, or ‘Cesar the Abuser’ as he is lovingly referred to as. You have to abuse A LOT of people to get the nickname ‘the abuser’. Anytime you have a *first name the ____* nickname, you’ve probably murdered at least 30,000 people. Vlad the impaler didn’t pick up that moniker by stabbing a handful of guys. Anyways, Peralta has knocked off every other significant kingpin in the D.R. over the last twenty years, and has become one of the biggest importers of drugs to the United States and Europe in the Carribean. Earlier this year, Dominican officials seized a 1,050 Kilo shipment of drugs headed to Puerto Rico from South America, a shipment that was directly connected to Peralta’s operation. Peralta has also been linked to trafficking women to and from South America. The dude is just not a good person. Cesar the Abuser has apparently recruited the two former major leaguers to assist in his gig by having them operate puppet businesses in the Dominican to launder money through. Which, if it’s true, is one of the smarter things I’ve heard of a drug kingpin doing. Who’s going to question the legitimacy of two guys who were in the Bigs for 14 years each? Hell, they’re probably national heroes in the D.R.
Well, apparently the FBI, DEA, and Dominican prosecutors will. They have named 18 suspects, including Castillo and Dotel, as people who are actively being pursued for their involvement in the drug ring.
Wow. That is a lot of information to unpack.
Here’s a little Owen Doyon hot take for you; This story is going to continue to unravel, and it’s going to bring down even more former ballplayers. Remember when Hanley Ramirez was “connected” to a drug ring? Or when David Ortiz was almost assassinated by a drug lords hitmen? Dominican baseball players are wildly famous in their native country. Drug lords also are wildly famous, or infamous, in their native country. It’s almost guaranteed that their paths are going to cross at some point. Maybe not all the interactions are strictly narcotics centered, but they all talk business at least one time. Don’t be surprised if some low-level drug runner gives up a number of big names in an attempt to try to get out of jail time.
But, the question now becomes who else is involved? What former MLB players would turn to a life of crime post-retirement? I’ve already risked my life enough by talking about this subject so why not throw gas on the fire a little bit!
One name that jumps out to me is Juan Encarnacion. Encarnacion was never anything special during his MLB days, and moved back to the Dominican Republic after his retirement from the sport in 2007. He currently is the head of the National Sports Committee in the D.R. and has a strong personal presence all across the island. Political figures being knee-deep in corruption in a third-world country? That sounds like something that probably goes down in the Dominican. OH, I forgot to mention, Encarnacion played on the 2003 Florida Marlins team that won the World Series with, who else, LUIS CASTILLO! WHHHUUUUTTTTT. It simply makes too much sense.
Another player that could have some ties to Peralta’s drug ring is Ramon Castro. Castro is another former big leaguer who endured a very unremarkable career. Here’s the catch though; Castro played with BOTH Castillo and Dotel during his career. BOOM! When you combine that crazy coincidence with the fact that Castro is from Puerto Rico, one of Peralta’s drug hotspots, AND the fact that he has a criminal record, AND THE FACT THAT HE AND CASTILLO LIVE JUST A HALF HOUR AWAY FROM EACH OTHER, you can’t overlook the clues.
And, My final prediction for a former MLB player that will be connected to this case is a big one. Like a big, BIG one. You could probably call him a ‘Big Papi’ of sorts. That’s right. The big fish of this whole case is… Miguel Tejada! Yes, Miguel Tejada, former AL MVP and one of my personal favorite players growing up *might* be linked to the drug syndicate. Now, even though Tejada never crossed paths with sketchy figures like Castillo and Dotel over his 16-year career, there are some signs pointing towards him being the missing piece. 1. He is a noted liar, famously denying his actual age during an ESPN interview in 2008. 2. He operated a chicken farm in Ft. Lauderdale, a city that is only 15 minutes away from Luis Castillo’s residence. And, perhaps the most damning piece of evidence of all. 3. In March of this year, Tejada was found guilty of writing illegal checks, and is required to serve a one-year sentence under house arrest. HE IS LITERALLY FORCED TO STAY IN THE COUNTRY WHERE HE IS CONTRIBUTING TO A DRUG TRAFFICKING RING! Tejada is worth more than $45 million, and you best believe that he is handing over every nickel possible to ole Cesar the Abuser.
Yeah, I know I just went full-blown conspiracy mode at the end there, but it’s 3:37 in the morning right now and adderall has my brain buzzing right now.
You can bet your ass that more is going to come out of this story before 2019 is done. Someone else is getting exposed.
I’ll grab the popcorn.
Photo via USA Today Sports