WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Former Major League pitcher Esteban Loaiza was arrested on Friday for drug trafficking suspicion after packages of white powder believed to be cocaine were found at an Imperial Beach home he’s renting, officials said Monday.
- The retired All-Star pitcher was being held in the South Bay Detention facility for lack of $200,000 bail.
- According to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Loaiza faces three felony charges: possession, transport, and sale of 20 kilograms of suspected cocaine worth around $500,000.
Esteban Loaiza was pulled over by police for a minor traffic violation on Friday. The 2010 Mercedes 450 he was driving believed to be involved in smuggling drugs, said sheriff’s Lt. Jason Vickery.
When deputies searched the vehicle, they noticed a sophisticated compartment used to conceal contraband. That led the officers to seek a search warrant for his rental home he started renting in early February where the investigators found the packages of drugs.
The 46-year-old played for several teams between 1995 and 2008. He started with the Pittsburgh Pirates and concluded his baseball career with a second stint with the Chicago White Sox. In 2003, Loaiza had a 21-9 record with the White Sox and started in the All-Star Game the same year.
As of this writing, it was not known if the former player had gotten a lawyer. His arraignment is scheduled Wednesday.
John Boggs, Loaiza’s agent, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he had not heard of the arrest and that he hasn’t spoken to Loaiza recently.
“I am shocked and saddened by the news and had no indication he would ever be in this type of situation,” Boggs said. “I don’t know how he would get himself involved in this, so it’s difficult to even comment on it.”
San Diego Sheriff’s Lt. Jason Vickery said the packages containing a white powder are believed to be cocaine but, are still being tested.
Loaiza was married to Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera in 2010. She filed for divorce after two years before she died in a 2012 plane crash.
In 2014, Loaiza sued the aircraft’s owners but he was accused by Rivera’s family of trying to profit from her death. He eventually retracted his lawsuit.
He made more than $43.7 million in his major league career. He’s the second-winningest Mexican pitcher in MLB history behind Fernando Valenzuela.