MONTERREY, Mexico – A former Little League baseball champion is accused of helping kidnap an 18-year-old who was freed in exchange for a BMW and $300,000 in ransom.
Everardo Daniel Ordonez played first base for the Linda Vista team that won the 1997 Little League World Series. The team is from Guadalupe in northeast Mexico.
Another suspect, Gustavo Gialil Baca Marcos, is the brother of Linda Vista's star pitcher, Daniel Baca Marcos, who is now a pitcher for the Mexico City Red Devils in the professional Mexican Baseball League
Ordonez and Gustavo Gialil Baca Marcos were arrested Friday with two others, and all allegedly confessed to the crime.
Handcuffed and blindfolded victims were kept at a house owned by Daniel Baca Marcos, state investigators said in a statement Monday. But officials have no evidence the pro baseball player was involved.
Kidnapping rates and organized crime killings have soared in Mexico. President Felipe Calderon took office two years ago and sent troops across Mexico to take back territory controlled by drug gangs, but a culture of violence and impunity still can be found in many parts of the country.
Little League regional director and board member Sergio Guzman said Tuesday the arrest is "very sad and very disappointing."
"Our country is in the middle of a kind of sickness that is infecting our young people," he said. "But I believe that activities like baseball help them develop respect for the law."
The Linda Vista team won Mexico's third Little League world championship, following the champions of 1957 and 1958, both from nearby Monterrey.
The 1957 triumph was the first time a team outside the U.S. had won the title.