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Wednesday, June 7
Guerrero acquitted of drug charges


MIAMI -- Former major leaguer Pedro Guerrero was acquitted of drug conspiracy charges Tuesday, after his attorney argued that his low IQ prevented him from understanding that he had agreed to a drug deal.

Federal prosecutors argued that Guerrero, who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals, told an undercover agent and an informant that he would guarantee payment for a $200,000 cocaine shipment.

But Guerrero's lawyer, Milton Hirsch, told the jury that the four-time National League All-Star and co-MVP of the 1981 World Series was duped by his friend, Adan "Tony" Cruz.

"He really never understood that he was being asked to involve himself in a drug deal," Hirsch said.

The jury acquitted Guerrero after four hours of deliberation.

Guerrero, 43, retired from baseball in 1992. Hirsch said Guerrero dropped out of sixth grade in his native Dominican Republic, and has an IQ of 70. The Miami resident can not perform simple tasks, such as writing a check or making a bed, and receives a small weekly allowance from his wife, Hirsch said.

Another friend of Cruz's, Lary Mercedes, was acquitted of conspiracy to purchase drugs on Tuesday.

Cruz, who was to receive the drug shipment, pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

Cruz and Guerrero met with two informants and undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent Nestor La Serna at a Miami restaurant Sept. 29.

One informant, who was wearing a hidden recording device, told Guerrero that he was going to sell Cruz 15 "little animals," and that he understood Guerrero would guarantee payment.

"If he doesn't show up, I'll take care of that," Guerrero allegedly replied.

The next day, according to evidence presented at trial, the informant told Guerrero on the phone that the cocaine was to be delivered shortly and "you're on the hook if (Cruz) doesn't pay."

"Fine, fine, OK, no problem," Guerrero allegedly replied.

Cruz was arrested when undercover agents delivered the sham cocaine to him at a supermarket near Guerrero's house. Guerrero and Mercedes were then arrested at the former ballplayer's home.
 


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