have reported that the former footballer Omar "El Gato" Ortiz has been arrested by police in Mexico following accusations that he was been part of a kidnapping ring. This came after police searched the footballer's home in San Nicolas de los Garza . Ortiz has been charged with being a member a gang responsible for at least 20 kidnappings, as well as being involved in drugs trafficking. The gang, rumoured to be part of Mexico's infamous Gulf Cartel
, have been operating within the Nuevo Leon state.
Ortiz's role, according to security services, has to help the gang select wealthy victims for abduction. NBC Sports
speculates that Oritz used his social contacts to help select people who were wealthy enough to be able to pay a ransom. The Huffington Post
reports that one of the victims of the gang was Armando Gomez, the husband of Mexican pop star Gloria Trevi
reports that the gang were active around the south of the industrial city of Monterrey. The gang focused on kidnapping merchants and charging ransoms of around 1 million pesos ($72,600).
Omar Ortiz, aged 35, saw his national and international playing career come to a premature end when he was suspended in 2010 after failing
a steroids test. At the time of the suspension he was the goal keeper for the team Rayados de Monterrey
, who play in the first division. The ban was due to expire in April 2012.
Ortiz, nicknamed "El Gato" (Spanish for "the Cat"), played for major league Mexican soccer teams including Monterrey , Club Celaya and Chiapas. He was select three times for the national team, although he only played on one occasion in 2002. It is possible that, following his suspension and due to the possible end to his soccer career, that Ortiz was tempted into crime in order to fund his lifestyle.
Ironically, in relation to the arrest, according to the soccer site Goal.com
, Ortiz was missing for a few days prior to his arrest, which led to his family fearing that Oritz himself had been kidnapped. ABC News
notes that if Ortiz is convicted he could face up to 50 years in prison for the crimes.