The Dominican Republic’s most notorious drug trafficker, who was once rumored to be involved in the shooting that wounded Red Sox legend David Ortiz, has been arrested, authorities said.
César Emilio Peralta — known as “César the Abuser” — was nabbed Monday in Cartagena, Colombia on a US warrant charging him with cocaine and heroin distribution, the attorney general’s office in Colombia announced.
Federal prosecutors in South Florida have issued an extradition request for the 44-year-old drug kingpin. He is accused of running an operation that moved cocaine and heroin through Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and the United States.
Peralta’s name cropped up in June when 43-year-old Ortiz was shot in the back at a popular night club in Santo Domingo.
Shortly after the shooting, news reports speculated that the hit was ordered by Peralta over a love triangle involving Dominican model Maria Yeribell Martinez Garcia.
But investigators said the retired slugger was mistakenly shot in a botched hit job targeting Sixto David Fernández, at the behest of Victor Hugo Gomez Vasquez.
Before his June 28 arrest, Vasquez released a video denying any involvement in the shooting and claiming Fernández was close with Peralta, without elaborating, the Boston Globe reported.
Dominican-born Ortiz once owned an apartment in the same luxury tower as Peralta, and the pair reportedly acknowledged each other when they crossed paths.
“No one in the Dominican Republic ever wanted to be an enemy of Peralta because everybody knew he was part of this [alleged] drug cartel,” Joe Baerlein, a spokesman for Ortiz said over the summer.
Peralta hasn’t been charged in the Ortiz shooting and authorities haven’t presented any evidence linking him to the case.
In August, the feds and Dominican law enforcement raided Peralta’s penthouse.
Some 18 suspects, including ex-Mets Octavio Dotel and Luis Castillo, were nabbed in the sweep, though Peralata wasn’t captured at the time.
Dominican prosecutors claimed that Peralta often leaned on MLB stars in order to launder cash from the proceeds of his empire.
Both Dotel and Castillo were cleared of any wrongdoing after a local federal judge ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to try them on money-laundering charges.
With Post wires