Former Mets stars Octavio Dotel and Luis Castillo were released from jail on Thursday after a judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence to link them to drug kingpin Cesar Emilio Peralta.
Dotel, 45, and Castillo, 43, were charged last week with being members of Peralta’s cocaine and opioid empire, in what Dominican Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez said was the largest operation targeting an organized crime ring.
But the ex-ballplayers were released from prison Thursday after Judge Jose Alejandro Vargas found insufficient evidence to link them to Peralta, according to various news reports in the Caribbean nation.
Dotel was released on $1 million bail and is still facing charges because authorities said they found illegal weapons when they searched his home.
Castillo’s attorney, Darren Heitner, could not be reached for comment late Thursday.
Last week, Heitner claimed his client was innocent and demanded an apology, telling sports website The Athletic that “Luis Castillo has not been involved in any drug trafficking whatsoever.”
Authorities alleged last week that the former baseball players were among 18 members of a massive drug operation overseen by Peralta, whose nickname is “Cesar the Abuser.”
“To enter and launder the illicit money obtained from drug trafficking, ‘César the Abuser’ also created a complicated corporate framework to disguise the origin of his fortune,” they said in a press release at the time of the arrests, “also using numerous individuals from his family and social circle to hide his assets, including two sports figures of the Dominican Republican,” according to an office press release.
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