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Former Major League Baseball All-Star Esteban Loaiza linked to ruthless New Generation Cartel

February 22, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Former Major League Baseball All-Star Esteban Loaiza linked to ruthless New Generation Cartel

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A former Major League Baseball All-Star, Esteban Loaiza, 46, who was caught by authorities in California for drug smuggling in early February, has ties to the violent Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG).

The two-time MLB All-Star was taken into custody on February 9th, and pleaded not guilty in San Diego County Superior Court in Chula Vista, California, on February 14th.

The former pitcher is facing up to 20 years behind bars for transporting 44 pounds of cocaine allegedly seized in a residence he recently rented.

According to media reports, Esteban Loaiza, as he frequently did, crossed the border on February 9th, along with three other cars when he was referred to secondary inspection at the Otay Mesa crossing between Tijuana and San Diego.

During an investigation of his Mercedes, a “sophisticated” custom compartment used to conceal contraband at the back of the car was found. The California criminal code makes it is illegal to use, possess, control a false compartment to store, conceal, traffic or move drugs.

Upon finding this illicit compartment of the vehicle, agents decided not to take any action and instead let Loaiza go as he was closely followed by members of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department.

The San Diego Sheriff’s Department trailed Loaiza until he committed a traffic violation and then pulled him over in Imperial Beach. They then secured a search warrant for a residence that he had recently rented.

The search of the home led to the seizure of 20 kilos (44 pounds) of cocaine with an estimated value of $500,000. Loaiza also crossed the border earlier that day, and this probe was part of an ongoing investigation involving a cell tied to the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) based in Mexico, according to Mexico’s Zeta Weekly.

According to Baseball Reference, Loaiza was born in Tijuana but went to high school in California.

During his 14-year career in the major leagues, Loaiza became a two-time all-star and played with eight clubs making a total of $44 million. The Pittsburgh Pirates prospect played for the last time in 2008 for the Chicago White Sox.

Loaiza remains in custody on a $250,000 bond until his next hearing.

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