Former Major League Baseball pitcher Esteban Antonio Loaiza, a Tijuana native who attended Imperial Beach's Mar Vista High School, pleaded not guilty to drug charges following his arrest on suspicion of possessing roughly 44 pounds of cocaine with intent to sell.
Deputy District Attorney Ryan Karkenny successfully pushed for Loaiza's bail to be increased to $250,000, saying the 46-year-old is a flight risk with ties to Mexico and a large amount of financial assets. He was pulled over for a minor traffic violation after he was spotted driving a 2010 Mercedes 450 believed involved in a smuggling operation, Vickery said. He played for numerous teams between 1995 and 2008, included stints with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox.
Sheriff's deputies seized the cocaine Friday at an Imperial Beach home Loaiza leased.
It was not immediately known if Loaiza had hired a lawyer and the former player could not be reached to comment.
The Mexican-born Loaiza, 46, was arrested on Friday, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said, and is to appear in court on Wednesday, after he was caught with a reported 20 kilos of cocaine and heroine.
Loaiza is the second-winningest pitcher from Mexico in major league history. He was married to singer Jenni Rivera but the couple filed for divorce in October 2012.
Investigators have said the arrest was part of an on-going narcotics probe but have given few details about how a successful baseball star became linked to a case involving the transport and sale of drugs with an estimated value of $500,000.
"I love Esteban", Boggs told the San Diego Union-Tribune.