WASHINGTON — Esteban Loaiza, who pitched for the Washington Nationals in 2005, was arrested with more than 20 kilograms of cocaine in his possession in San Diego, California, authorities said.
The San Diego Sheriff’s Department said Loiaza was arrested Feb. 9 and will be in court on Wednesday, Feb. 14, to face three felony drug charges.
The Associated Press reported that officers stopped Loaiza for a minor traffic infraction after he left a home he started renting recently near the U.S.-Mexico border. Authorities had the vehicle under surveillance on suspicion it was used for smuggling drugs.
When police searched the car, they found a “sophisticated compartment used to conceal contraband,” which led them to obtain a search warrant for Loiaza’s rental home where they found the packages of drugs.
The packages contained a white powder and are still being tested, but are believed to be cocaine said San Diego Sheriff’s Lt. Jason Vickery.
Loiaza pitched in the majors for 14 seasons with seven teams and placed second in the 2003 American League Cy Young voting with the Chicago White Sox.
His one season with the Nats was in 2005, their first season in D.C. He was one of the Nats’ best pitchers that year, going 12-10 with a 3.77 ERA in 217 innings. He was second on the team in wins, innings, and strikeouts.
According to baseball-reference.com, Loiaza made more than $40 million in his career.
This reported was updated at 5:42 p.m. to include more information from the San Diego Sheriff’s office. The Associated Press contributed to this report.