San Diego

Ex-All Star Pitcher Esteban Loaiza Released on Bail

Esteban Loaiza, the former All-Star pitcher facing drug charges, was released on bail Friday and questioned by members of the media when he appeared outside of a U.S. court.

The defendant has entered a not guilty plea to drug charges involving 44 pounds of suspected cocaine.

Loaiza, who was married to the late Jenni Rivera, put up a building in Texas for bail. A federal judge accepted the building as collateral on April 24. 

Loaiza was photographed as he left the federal courthouse downtown. A pretrial hearing scheduled for Friday was postponed until Monday.

He was arrested on suspicion of drug smuggling in February after San Diego County sheriff's deputies found a "sophisticated" compartment used to hide contraband in his vehicle.

Later authorities obtained a search warrant for the home he rented in Imperial Beach, where officials say packages containing a white powder believed to be cocaine were found.

Loaiza had leased the home in early February, deputies said.

Esteban Loaiza in a Chicago White Sox uniform in July 2004 (L) and in at a previous state court appearance on drug possession charges.

Born in Tijuana, Mexico, Loaiza attended Mar Vista High School in Imperial Beach. After his 1995 debut in the major leagues, he went on to pitch for the Pirates, Yankees, Oakland A's, Dodgers and others.

Loaiza was also the husband of Jenni Rivera, the Mexican-American pop star who died along with six others in a 2012 plane crash. The 43-year-old superstar filed for divorce from Loaiza two months before the crash.

Loaiza was charged with possession more than 20 kilograms along with two counts of transporting and possessing narcotics with the intent to sell — all felonies. 

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