Suspended Mexican soccer goalie detained in kidnap

By the Associated Press | January 7, 2012 | 10:11 PM EST

FILE - In this April 9, 2005 file photo, Jaguares goalkeeper Omar Ortiz signals to Chivas fans as he celebrates his team's second goal at a Mexican soccer league match in Guadalajara City, Mexico. Police in northern Mexico have arrested suspended first-division soccer goalie Omar "El Gato" Ortiz for alleged participation in a kidnapping ring. Security spokesman for Nuevo Leon state Jorge Domene said on Saturday Jan. 7, 2012 that Ortiz's job was to select the victims. Ortiz is under a suspension after testing positive for steroids in April 2010. (AP Photo/Guillermo Arias, File)

MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) — Suspended first-division soccer goalkeeper Omar "El Gato" Ortiz has been arrested for alleged participation in a kidnapping ring, Mexican police announced Saturday.

Ortiz, whose nickname means "The Cat," has been under a suspension after testing positive for steroids in April 2010, when he was playing with the Rayados of Monterrey.

Jorge Domene, the security spokesman for Nuevo Leon state, where Monterrey is located, said Ortiz worked with a gang responsible for at least 20 kidnappings.

Domene said Ortiz's job was to select wealthy victims because he moved in the same social circles.

The gang's victims allegedly included the husband of pop singer Gloria Trevi. Trevi has avoided commenting on the abduction, which reportedly occurred in October, but comments by Domene and state Attorney General Adrian de la Garza appeared to confirm that kidnapping. Her husband was apparently quickly freed.

The officials said Ortiz and three alleged accomplices were arrested earlier this week. They appeared to have no lawyer of record.

Ortiz is alleged to have become active in kidnappings that occurred in the second half of 2011. The gang allegedly demanded around 1 million pesos ($72,000) for the release of each victim.

Some local media in Monterrey had speculated that Ortiz himself had been abducted after he disappeared from view Wednesday. But prosecutors said he had been arrested at his home in a Monterrey suburb that day after two kidnapping suspects were detained Monday and implicated him in the crimes.

Prosecutors said that the suspects confessed to the abductions and that four criminal complaints had been filed against the gang. If convicted, Ortiz and the others could face prison sentences of up to 50 years.