Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

Ex-MLB pitcher Esteban Loaiza's bail raised in cocaine case

Former Yankees pitcher Esteban Loaiza faces up to 20 years in prison after being arrested with more than 20 pounds of cocaine Former Yankees pitcher Esteban Loaiza faces up to 20 years in prison after being arrested with more than 20 pounds of cocaine
Marlene Weaver | 15 February, 2018, 17:45

With AP Photos.Former All-Star pitcher Esteban Loaiza is heading to court accused of drug dealing involving 44 pounds of suspected cocaine.

Bail was originally set at $200,000 but the judge Wednesday raised it to $250,000 after deputy district attorney Ryan Karkenny argued the Mexican pitcher poses a flight risk, saying he has lived on both sides of the border and has access to "significant funds".

The three drug-related charges - which include a count of using a secret compartment to smuggle drugs - include allegations that the bulk of cocaine for sale weighed more than 20 pounds and was located within 1,000 feet from a school.

Deputies searched his rented home in Imperial Beach and said they discovered packages of white powder they believed to be cocaine.

Loaiza, 46, was arrested Friday during a traffic stop. That provide enough probable cause for officers to seek a search warrant to take a look in his home, which he leased in early February.

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The 46-year-old is the second-winningest pitcher from Mexico in Major League Baseball history, trailing only Fernando Valenzuela's 173 wins.

Deputies from the Border Crimes Suppression Team stopped Loaiza's auto and found a "sophisticated after-market compartment used to hide contraband", Lt. Jason Vickery alleged.

San Diego Sheriff's Lt. Jason Vickery says the packages are still being tested. He last played in 2008 with the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. She filed for divorce shortly before she died in a plane crash in 2012.

The former All-Star made $44 million in his career pitching for eight teams in 14 seasons.

After graduating high school, Loaiza signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates as an amateur free agent.

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