Big Papi Had Ties to Accused Gambler, Still Recovering in Boston Hospital Following DR Shooting

Written by:
Alejandro Botticelli
Published on:

  • 43-year-old former Red Sox slugger recovering in Boston hospital following apparent failed hit on his life

  • Motives include reports that David Ortiz was having affair with drug lord's wife

  • Book out last year ties Ortiz to gambling ring linked to barber shop

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As 43-year-old three-time World Series champ, David Ortiz, recovers in a Boston hospital, more information continues to emerge as to the reasons for the former Red Sox player becoming a target in a Santo Domingo shooting last week.

Initial reports described the incident as a robbery, which video quickly disputed.

Over the course of several days, Dominican Republic authorities have implicated 12 individuals in connection with the shooting. They include the 25-year-old gunman, Rolfi Ferreira-Cruz, and two jailed suspects who are accused of somehow masterminding the hit from the prison cells where they are currently serving time.

“They coordinated this from jail?” a Dominican source, who has knowledge of the Ortiz case, told the New York Daily News. The source asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal against himself or others. “These guys haven’t seen $5,000 in their lives. There might be three levels of what’s going on here: No.1, funding and planning; No. 2, execution (of the plan); and No. 3, guys being blamed. They probably have one cell phone between them. One is 24 years old. He’s been in prison for five years.”

Big Papi's otherwise pristine persona has come unraveled since the failed hit on his life.

On the other hand, there are shady links to the slugger going as far back as his early Red Sox days. Behind his megawatt smile and baseball fame across two countries lie complicated issues and confounding lifestyle choices that include ties to an accused gambler, an alleged affair and an unreported car chase and subsequent coverup of the crash. Interviews with Dominican and American sources familiar with the case suggest the shooting was not simply a matter of Ortiz being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and his life may have been in danger even if he’d been in the U.S.

The Daily News has learned that U.S. law enforcement agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, are actively involved in the probe, and that a powerfully connected drug kingpin believed to be nicknamed “The Abuser” may be one person of interest to authorities.

The Daily News added:

At least two of the suspects have criminal ties in the U.S. The Associated Press reported that Ferreira-Cruz, the alleged gunman, was indicted in a 2017 Clifton, N.J., armed robbery case but never apprehended. The AP cited a news release from the Passaic County prosecutor’s office. Another suspect, Luis Rivas-Clase, is being sought by authorities and may be the same person wanted in a 2018 Reading, Pa., shooting, according to the AP. Sources told the Daily News that the Northeast United States is the prime market for drugs coming from the Dominican Republic. “Everybody wants to sell to the U.S.,” said one source. “That hit could have easily happened in the U.S.”

The primary theory going around since the shooting is that Ortiz, who is married with three children, was having an affair with a drug lord's wife.

Then there is the gambling angle.

Eddie Dominguez, a former Resident Security Agent for the Red Sox when Ortiz was on the team, authored a book published last year, “Baseball Cop”.  In it, he describes Ortiz's association with a group of individuals that wagered on baseball games.  These reports prompted Dominguez to open an investigation.

More from the Daily News:

Felix Leopoldo Marquez Galice, nicknamed “Monga,” had assumed a false identity in the U.S., and was identified by one of Dominguez’s informants as having frequented a barbershop in Boston to place wagers on baseball games, including a July 2005 game between Ortiz’s Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox in the Windy City. According to the book, Monga placed two $1,000 bets that day — one on the White Sox to win, and another on the over-under — and won both bets.

Galice was identified as Ortiz's personal assistant back in 2009 when he was jailed.  The identity he assumed was that of a convicted drug dealer serving time in a federal prison in Puerto Rico.

During the years 2003 through 2006, Galice was on the payroll of Big Papi Enterprises and often seen at Fenway Park, spring training and several Major League Baseball All Star games, according to reports.

Last year, Ortiz denied any ties to the gambling ring, ultimately shut down amidst a probe dubbed "Operation Barbershop".  Dominguez claims that he met with Ortiz, former Boston manager Terry Francona and former MLB security chief Kevin Hallinan in regard to the gambling scheme at Fenway in 2006.  Within days after that meeting, the barber believed to be running the ring abruptly shut it down.

He posted on his Insagram page:

“I wasn’t gonna comment on this episode but someone outta nowhere once again try to diminish my image just to sell a couple books...jus (sic) for some $$ in his pocket. MLB do a hell of a job letting us know as a player the importance of NOT betting on baseball...especially after pete rose,” Ortiz wrote on his official Instagram account on August 30, 2018. “I have been a player that has been extremely blessed… not only with the love of the fans, but also with lots of $$$. And im SMART ENOUGH to not get caught in some BS like that…trust me!!!”

- Alejandro Botticelli, Gambling911.com

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