ROCKY RIVER — Indians two-time All-Star closer Chris Perez pleaded no contest and was convicted Tuesday of misdemeanor drug abuse for marijuana shipped to his home in the family dog’s name.
Perez withdrew his not guilty plea in Rocky River Municipal Court outside Cleveland and was found guilty and fined $250. He also was placed on probation for one year and was ordered to speak to youngsters about drugs.
“You’re highly regarded; kids look up to you,” Judge Brian Hagan said. “But you made a big mistake. I hope that through your efforts you can deter someone else from making that same mistake.”
Postal inspectors tipped off police about suspicious packages mailed to the Perez home. They say Perez’s wife, Melanie, accepted two packages with about a third of a pound of marijuana.
The related criminal case against her is pending. If she passes a drug test, she will face a $50 fine and will not be required to serve probation, said prosecutor Michael O’Shea.
Authorities say Melanie Perez, whose maiden name is Baum, told the undercover officer delivering the packages that they were intended for her dog, named Brody. The package was addressed to Brody Baum.
According to investigators, Perez told drug agents with a search warrant that he had pot for personal use and pointed out two jars. Asked about any drugs or weapons by officers who went to the Perez home, Perez “volunteered to direct the officers to the location of it,” an investigative report said.
Under the drug agreement between Major League Baseball and its players’ association, marijuana offenses generally result with the player undergoing a treatment program rather than discipline.
Perez is participating in the treatment program and is subject to regular drug tests, defense attorney Terry Gilbert told The Plain Dealer.
“For all intents and purposes, his life is on a good track,” Gilbert said.
The 28-year-old Perez (5-2) entered Tuesday with 21 saves in 25 opportunities with a 3.15 ERA.