A former Major League Baseball All-Star, 46-year-old Esteban Loaiza who was busted by California authorities for drug smuggling earlier this month, has been linked to the deadly Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG).
Breitbart Texas was able to confirm the revelation according to U.S. law enforcement sources speaking on the condition of anonymity and Mexican media outlets.
The righty two-time MLB All-Star was arrested on February 9, 2017, and entered a not guilty plea in San Diego County Superior Court in Chula Vista, California, on February 14. Loaiza faces up to 20 years in prison for the 44 pounds of cocaine allegedly discovered in a residence he recently rented.
According to media accounts, Loaiza, as he did regularly, crossed the border on February 9, along with three other vehicles when he was sent to secondary inspection at the Otay Mesa border crossing between Tijuana and San Diego. During an inspection of his Mercedes Benz, a “sophisticated” custom compartment used to hide contraband at the back of the vehicle was located, according to investigators. The California criminal code makes it is unlawful to use, possess, control a false compartment to store, hide, traffic or transport drugs. Upon reportedly discovering this illegal compartment in the vehicle, the federal agents decided not to take any enforcement action and instead let Loaiza leave but was closely followed by elements of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department.
The San Diego Sheriff’s Department followed Loaiza until he allegedly committed a traffic violation and then initiated a traffic stop in Imperial Beach. They subsequently obtained a search warrant for a home that he had recently rented.
The search of the residence reportedly produced 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of cocaine with an estimated value quoted by authorities at $500,000. According to law enforcement officials, Loaiza also crossed the border earlier in the day and this investigation was part of an ongoing case involving a cell linked to the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) based out of Mexico.
Breitbart Texas has reported extensively on the record-breaking number of murders in Tijuana attributed to the rival drug cartels’ battle over control of key trafficking routes and street-level distribution between the Sinaloa Cartel and their one-time ally, Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG). Tijuana’s murder toll peaked at 1,734 for 2017–smashing the previous year’s record of 910. The final number represents a 90% increase, making 2017 the bloodiest year to date.
According to Baseball Reference, Loaiza was born in Tijuana but graduated from high school in California. In the major leagues, be became a two-time all-star and played 14 seasons with eight different clubs earning $44 million overall. The Pittsburgh Pirates prospect played his final season in 2008 for the Chicago White Sox. Loaiza is being held on a $250,000 bond until his next court hearing. He was Cy Young Award runner-up for the 2003 season in Chicago.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.)
Editor’s Note: This article was updated to reflect that Loaiza was a Cy Young runner-up.