Hoyt Earlier Halted at Border, Fined for Undeclared Drugs

Times Staff Writer

San Diego Padre pitcher LaMarr Hoyt, who checked into a rehabilitation center Thursday for possible substance abuse, was found in possession of marijuana, valium tablets and quaaludes by U.S. Customs agents on Feb. 10, it was learned Friday.

John Miller, public affairs officer of U.S. Customs Regional Pacific Office in Los Angeles, told the Associated Press Friday that Hoyt was detained at the San Ysidro border checkpoint south of San Diego. Miller said Hoyt was cited for failure to declare "small personal use quantities" of drugs.

"He forfeited those on the spot and paid a $620 penalty," Miller said. "Those drugs included three grams of marijuana, 79 valium tablets and 46 quaaludes."

Miller also told AP that Hoyt faces no additional charges in the border incident.

Hoyt's attorney, Ron Shapiro, said he could not coment on the incident, for he knew nothing of it. He said he talked to Hoyt Friday, and that "he's doing a little better...a little better."

Padre General Manager Jack McKeon also said he was unaware of the incident, and team president Ballard Smith was unavailable for comment.

Earlier Friday, though, Smith had said Hoyt, if it were determined he'd been on drugs, would be given one more chance by the Padres. It is team policy, Smith said, to rid themselves of a player who has had two encounters with drugs. This would be Hoyt's first offense as a Padre. He has had no other such incidents elsewhere.

Smith told Hoyt of this policy Thursday.

And only in the last two weeks had Shapiro become aware of Hoyt's apparent disarray. Shapiro said Hoyt's pending divorce from his wife, Sylvia, had worn on him, especially since, Hoyt said, she was "trying to take half my money."

He earns $1 million annually.

Shapiro said: "Finally, he started to cry and communicate things to me, which told me: 'This guy is in trouble.' "

He is being evaluated for possible drug and/or alcohol abuse, and Padre officials have said he will likely be released in 10-to-14 days.

Padre players are sympathetic.

"Guys like that, they've got a real problem," infielder Jerry Royster said Friday. "We're not talking about someone taking a piece of candy here. We're talking about a real problem.

"You're talking about 1 million dollars a year (Hoyt's salary). You're going to give that up for a substance? Temporary joy? That is a problem, and if you need help, you should be helped."

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