David Ortiz Was Allegedly Targeted by Drug Kingpin César 'The Abuser' Peralta in 2019 Shooting: Report

Following a six-month private investigation, former Boston police commissioner Ed Davis determined that the drug lord felt disrespected by the Red Sox legend

David Ortiz attends the 2021 Maestro Cares Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on December 7, 2021 in New York City.
Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty

Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz was allegedly targeted by an infamous drug lord when he was shot in June 2019, according to former Boston police commissioner Ed Davis.

In a new report from The Boston Globe, Davis claimed that drug lord César "The Abuser" Peralta felt disrespected by Ortiz, 46, and subsequently put a bounty on his head. The determination follows a six-month private investigation.

Saturday's report states that the Major League Baseball star and Peralta crossed paths "multiple times" before the 2019 shooting in Ortiz's native Dominican Republic.

In his interview with the Globe, Davis alleged that "Peralta said he had David shot," citing information shared with him by United States law enforcement officials.

Ortiz survived the shooting, though he required emergency surgery in wake of the attack. He underwent multiple surgeries afterward, at least one of which addressed complications resulting from his gunshot wound.

The former Red Sox star said in a phone call with The Globe from the Dominican Republic that he was "sad, confused, angry, all kinds of emotions" when Davis, whom he hired to conduct the investigation into his shooting, informed him of the news (Ortiz also hired Ric Prado, a former high-ranking CIA official, to take part in the investigation).

Former Boston Red Sox great David Ortiz reacts before the game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 26, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
Omar Rawlings/Getty

"I accept what Ed and Ric are telling me, but how come no one in the Dominican justice system has told me this is how it went down?" Ortiz told the outlet. "Instead, it's the opposite."

He later added, "To be honest, when you live in a country where justice is corrupted, you want to believe [what the government alleges] but you also will disagree, and that was what was going on at the time," Ortiz said.

The Globe also reported that Ortiz's communications adviser, Joe Baerlein, said Ortiz had requested to add to his comments that while he "appreciates the thoroughness of [Davis's] report, he [Ortiz] awaits further legal action in the Dominican and U.S. courts to bring final clarity and answers on why this happened to him."

As noted in the report, Davis' findings go against the reported findings of Dominican officials, who initially alleged that an unknown person had a bounty out for Ortiz. Now, law enforcement has said that the shooting was a case of mistaken identity.

Peralta's lawyer Joaquin Perez has suggested that Ortiz and Peralta are "close friends" in defense of his client, though Ortiz has denied this, per the Globe.

David Ortiz
David Ortiz. Billie Weiss/Getty Images

Ortiz also alleged that former Dominican attorney general Jean Alain Rodríguez asked him to make a public statement supporting the mistaken identity theory, according to the report.

"We understood the attorney general was trying to make [Peralta's possible involvement] go away," Prado said, "because if Peralta went down, many people in the government were going to go down."

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In the time since the shooting, both Peralta and Rodríguez have been jailed in connection with unrelated offenses. Peralta is sitting in a Puerto Rican prison, charged with conspiracy to import cocaine and heroin, while Rodríguez is facing corruption charges in the Dominican Republic.

Perez told The Globe that Peralta was not only "close friends" with Ortiz, but also rushed to his side the night of the shooting. However, Ortiz denied having anything beyond a casual relationship with Peralta, with whom he occasionally posed for photos when visiting his establishments.

David Ortiz
Jared Wickerham/Getty

At one point, Ortiz and Peralta both lived in the Naco Blue Tower, a luxury condominium building in Santo Domingo. Ortiz told The Globe that he moved out a short time later "because it was too obvious there were a lot of weird-looking people going into the building, and I wasn't feeling comfortable."

During the interview, Ortiz also denied the rumor that he was romantically involved with Peralta's wife or girlfriend. But, Prado said, per the Globe, "Even if there was no affair, just the fact that one of Peralta's women was attracted to David or was flirting with him, that could be seen by Peralta as an affront."

13 suspects are awaiting trial in the case, including alleged Gulf Cartel associate Victor Hugo Gomez, who authorities have accused of helping plot out a hit against Ortiz's friend, Sixto David Fernández.

The alleged hit squad included two U.S. fugitives involved with a violent Dominican street gang called Trinitarios.

Luis Rivas Clase, one of the men allegedly involved in the shooting, was shot and killed in Santiago de los Caballeros in 2021, according to the Dominican outlet Listin Diario.

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