As former All-Star pitcher Esteban Loaiza recently discovered, success as a professional athlete offers little protection from prosecution. As a retired athlete with over $40 million in earnings over a long baseball career, his arrest for suspected involvement in drug trafficking came as a surprise to many who knew him. The pitcher pleaded not guilty, and his bail was set at $250,000 after prosecutors argued that he posed a high flight risk.
Loaiza was initially arrested after a traffic stop by San Diego County law enforcement officers, who claim to have discovered a hidden compartment while searching the vehicle. Investigators reportedly described the compartment as “sophisticated” and suggested it was used to hide illegal substances. Investigators also claim that the ex-pitcher’s recent crossing of the Mexican-American border strengthens the case against him.
Local law enforcement requested a search warrant for Loaiza’s home in Imperial Beach, California. Officials say that packages containing white powder were found in the home and are believed to amount to roughly 20 kilograms of cocaine. This could have an impact on the scope of the charges because possession of any amount over 10 kilograms is subject to significantly harsher penalties. The town home’s proximity to an elementary school could also elevate the penalties imposed if he is found guilty.
Drug charges are a serious concern for people from any walk of life, from young adults to retired professionals. Anyone who is facing court for drug offenses related to possession or distribution of illegal substances, including marijuana, cocaine and heroin, may benefit from contacting an experienced attorney who understands the details of local drug law. An experienced attorney may be able to help their client identify evidence and arguments to support their claims as well as look for opportunities to reduce the severity of charges and penalties of a conviction.