A former professional footballer player turned kidnapping specialist has been arrested in Mexico, officials said. Omar Ortiz Uribe, who was a goalkeeper for first division club Monterrey, is accused of participating in the kidnappings of at least 20 people.
Suspected to be a member of the Gulf cartel, he was arrested in the northern state of Nuevo Leon. Uribe -- known as "El Gato" during his playing days -- was suspended by the Mexican Soccer Federation for doping during matches in 2010. He was banned from playing for two years, a penalty that was due to expire in April.
Uribe helped the cartel by providing information about potential victims, said state Security Council spokesman Jorge Domene. The kidnapping cell, which had been operating for about a year, paid the player approximately 100,000 pesos (around $7,300) per victim.
The majority of the victims were businessmen whose families paid average ransoms of one million pesos (around $73,000), he said.