Ex-MLB pitcher Esteban Loaiza arrested in San Diego, accused of having 20 kg of cocaine

Ex-MLB pitcher faces drug charges in San Diego
Ex-MLB pitcher faces drug charges in San Diego
Ex-MLB pitcher faces drug charges in San Diego
Posted at 7:32 AM, Feb 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-12 22:52:01-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Former Major League Baseball pitcher Esteban Loaiza was arrested on suspicion of possessing 44 pounds of cocaine with intent to sell.

According to San Diego County sheriff's officials, the arrest of the 46-year-old Loaiza on Feb. 9 was "part of an ongoing narcotics investigation."

Loaiza was under surveillance when he left an Imperial Beach home in a vehicle "believed to be involved in the smuggling of narcotics," sheriff's officials said.

Members of the sheriff's Border Crimes Suppression Team stopped Loaiza for a minor traffic infraction, and "a search of the vehicle led to the discovery of a sophisticated aftermarket compartment used to conceal contraband."

Citing evidence at the traffic stop, a search warrant was issued for the Imperial Beach home -- located near a preschool -- that was leased by Loaiza in early February. Sheriff's officials said 20 kilograms of cocaine, with an estimated value of $500,000, was found inside the house.

Loaiza was arrested and booked into San Diego County Jail on charges of possession of cocaine over 20 kilograms, possession of cocaine for sale and transportation of cocaine. He was being held on $200,000 bail.

Loaiza is scheduled to be arraigned in a county courtroom on Wednesday.

Loaiza, who last pitched in the majors in 2008, made over $40 million in his 14-year career. He played for eight teams, with his best season coming in 2003 as a member of the Chicago White Sox when he finished second in the American League Cy Young Award voting.

His 126 career wins is the second most for a Mexican-born pitcher, behind Fernando Valenzuela.

Loaiza, a Tijuana native, attended Mar Vista High School in Imperial Beach before signing a professional contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1991.

He was married to famed singer Jenni Rivera, who died in a 2012 plane crash.

See a timeline of Loaiza's career below: