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Wander Franco Investigation: Dominican Authorities Conduct Home Raids as MLB Star Remains Elusive

Wander Franco Investigation: Dominican Authorities Conduct Home Raids as MLB Star Remains Elusive

In a new development surrounding the ongoing investigation into Tampa Bay Rays’ star Wander Franco, authorities in the Dominican Republic conducted home raids in search of the All-Star shortstop. The Santo Domingo Prosecutor’s Office for Children and Adolescents reportedly searched two homes on Tuesday, according to Dominican newspaper Listin Diario.

The allegations against the 22-year-old Franco involve accusations of having a relationship with a minor from Puerto Plata. The legal age of consent in the Dominican Republic is 18. The investigation, which has spanned four months, has been a collaborative effort between Dominican authorities and Major League Baseball.

Franco, who had returned to his native Dominican Republic earlier this month, was not located during the home raids. The search included his “maternal home” in Baní, Peravia province, and his residence in Villa Real. Authorities left contact information for Franco at his Villa Real home.

MLB insider Hector Gomez, posting on X, mentioned new evidence surfacing that “further implicates (Franco) in the accusations.” Franco’s U.S.-based attorney, Jay Reisinger, had no comment on Tuesday night.

The allegations against Franco surfaced publicly in mid-August via social media, prompting the Rays and MLB to take immediate action. Franco initially agreed to a one-week leave from the team on Aug. 13 but was later placed on administrative leave under the MLB and players union’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.

Despite denying the allegations via a live broadcast on Instagram, Franco did not play in an MLB game after Aug. 12 and refrained from speaking to the media. MLB typically awaits the conclusion of legal investigations before deciding on possible suspensions.

Franco, an integral part of the Rays, signed a team-record 11-year, $182 million contract in November 2021. He missed the final 42 games of the regular season, and his absence hangs over the Rays as they approach the upcoming spring training. The team is left in limbo regarding his future, with several infielders in the organization who can play shortstop, including Taylor Walls, whose availability for the season opener is uncertain due to offseason hip surgery.

As the investigation unfolds, the Rays and MLB are navigating the complexities surrounding one of their brightest stars, leaving the player’s future in question.

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