KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -A car seized as part of an investigation into a cocaine conspiracy in Kansas City was owned by five-time All-Star catcher Benito Santiago, a newspaper reported Sunday.
The Kansas City Star said federal and state records show Santiago bought a 2003 Mercedes-Benz CL55 two-door coupe that was linked to Jacques Lavigne.
Lavigne, who pleaded guilty last week to federal drug trafficking charges, told authorities that he gave an unidentified individual $80,000 in drug money so that person could buy the car and title it in their name in Florida. He then kept it as his own at his Kansas City apartment.
Santiago has not been charged in the case and court documents don't indicate Santiago knew that Lavigne was operating a multimillion-dollar cocaine operation.
The Star said it identified Santiago as the owner by tracing the car's vehicle identification and license plate numbers, which were included in court records.
Authorities seized the car in October and a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Kansas City said it plans to take the car as part of a forfeiture action, claiming that it was actually owned by Lavigne and purchased with the benefits of his criminal enterprise.
Former lawyers and agents for Santiago said they hadn't been in contact with the 1987 NL Rookie of the Year since the 20-year veteran last played in the major leagues in 2005. His telephone number in Florida is unlisted and The Star said he didn't respond to a letter mailed to his Florida address.
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