MEXICO CITY -- Omar Ortiz, a former goalkeeper for several Mexican clubs, was sentenced Tuesday to 75 years in prison following his conviction on kidnapping charges. The sentence was handed down almost seven years to the day after his arrest in connection to his participation in a kidnapping ring.
Nicknamed "El Gato" ("The Cat"), Ortiz has been in jail since Jan. 7, 2012, during which time Nuevo Leon state prosecutors were able to link him to two kidnappings. Ortiz is facing additional charges of criminal association and false imprisonment of a minor.
At the time of his arrest, authorities in Nuevo Leon said Ortiz worked with a gang responsible for at least 20 kidnappings. Ortiz's job was to pick out wealthy victims because he moved in the same social circles, according to the authorities. Among the kidnapping victims was the husband of Mexican singer Gloria Trevi.
The former goalkeeper has been serving his sentence at the Cereso de Cadereyta facility in Nuevo Leon, where he was injured during a prison riot in 2017. Final arguments in Ortiz's trial were made in November 2017, while a hearing two months later proved inconclusive.
Ortiz played for his hometown club Monterrey, Celaya, Necaxa, Jaguares, Necaxa and Atlante, and earned a cap with Mexico during the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup during his career. He was serving a two-year suspension at the time of his arrest after testing positive for steroids in April 2010, when he was playing for Monterrey.