Former Major League Baseball pitcher Esteban Loaiza, who was arrested after sheriff’s deputies allegedly found $500,000 worth of cocaine in his Imperial Beach home, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to three felony drug charges, including possession for sale of a controlled substance.
Loaiza, 46, was ordered held on $250,000 bail.
The defendant, a Tijuana native who attended Mar Vista High School in Imperial Beach, was under surveillance last Friday when he left his home in a suspected drug vehicle, authorities said.
Deputies from the Border Crimes Suppression Team stopped Loaiza’s car and found a “sophisticated after-market compartment used to conceal contraband,” Lt. Jason Vickery alleged.
At Loaiza’s leased home, which was located next to a school, investigators discovered roughly 44 pounds of cocaine, the lieutenant alleged.
According to Baseball Reference, Loaiza made more than $43 million over a career that spanned parts of 13 seasons, and he was a two-time All Star. Loaiza played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Washington Nationals and Oakland A’s.
Loaiza faces 20 years and eight months in prison if convicted. He will be back in court March 14 for a readiness conference and April 24 for a preliminary hearing.
–City News Service
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