Former Nats Pitcher Arrested With 44 Pounds of Drugs

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Esteban Loaiza pleaded not guilty to felony drug charges Wednesday in San Diego County Superior Court, according to the Associated Press.

Loaiza was booked into the South Bay Detention Center shortly before 6 p.m. Friday and was being held in lieu of $200,000 bail on suspicion of possession of cocaine over 20 kilograms, possession of cocaine for sale and transportation of cocaine.

Officials tell News 8, detectives were doing surveillance in regards to a drug investigation when they pulled him over for a traffic violation. He played for eight teams, with his best season coming in 2003 as a member of the Chicago White Sox.

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

It was not immediately known if Loaiza has hired a lawyer.

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Vickery said deputies used to test substances they believed were illicit drugs in the field but they now wait for a laboratory to test it because of concerns about handling fentanyl, a synthetic opioid so powerful that even a tiny amount can be fatal.

Loaiza, 46, was arrested Friday during a traffic stop. Depties say Loaiza leased the home in early February.

While searching the vehicle, authorities allegedly found a sophisticated compartment used to hide contraband. He was married to singer Jenni Rivera but the couple filed for divorce in October 2012.

Agent John Boggs, who represented Loaiza during his Major League Baseball career, said he had not seen him in more than a year but that he had heard he was involved in a business selling Mexican-made hats.

Loaiza was born in Tijuana and he attended Mar Vista High School in Imperial Beach.

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