Perez charged with drug possession
Cleveland Indians two-time All-Star closer Chris Perez, charged with misdemeanor possession after marijuana was mailed to his home in his dog's name, told drug agents he had pot for personal use and pointed out two jars, according to investigative reports.
Asked about any drugs or weapons by officers who went to the Perez home on Tuesday with a search warrant, ''Perez responded that he had `personal use' marijuana in the basement and volunteered to direct the officers to the location of it,'' an investigative report said.
''He pointed out a number of items of paraphernalia along with two separate `mason' jars containing a green vegetable matter suspected of being marijuana,'' it said.
Police, tipped off to suspicious packages by postal inspectors, arranged a delivery Tuesday under surveillance, and Perez's wife, Melanie, accepted two packages, the reports said.
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 postal inspectors.
A later house search under warrant began while Perez and his wife were out for lunch and a movie, the reports said. A baby sitter was caring for two children.
Police say Perez returned home and mentioned personal marijuana use to the search team of officers.
Perez, 27, and his 29-year-old wife were charged in a complaint filed Friday with misdemeanor drug possession involving just over one-third of a pound of marijuana, suburban Rocky River police said. The two haven't commented, but their attorney said they would plead not guilty.
''We ask that people not rush to judgment. We are confident of a favorable outcome,'' attorney Terry Gilbert said in a statement on their behalf.
Perez and his wife were released on personal bond.
''Clearly we take these matters seriously and are disappointed whenever there is any negative attention brought to the Indians organization or one of our players,'' team general manager Chris Antonetti said in a statement. ''We understand and respect that there is an ongoing legal process that we will allow to evolve.''
Manager Terry Francona had little to say about the matter before Cleveland's game at Detroit on Friday night.
''He's got some friends that care about him, which makes sense, and I've spoken to him a couple times,'' Francona said. ''But out of respect to the situation and the process, we're really not allowed to talk about it.''
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.
Questioned when investigators returned to the house hours after the delivery, Melanie Perez told them that she doesn't smoke marijuana but that her husband ''had drug paraphernalia'' in the house.
Asked whether the marijuana shipment was intended for her husband, Melanie Perez responded, ''What did Chris say?'' according to the investigative report.
The packages smelled of marijuana and had a Los Angeles return address with a name that wasn't associated with that location, postal inspectors said.
Dan Chaplin, a Cleveland defense attorney not connected with the case, compared the charge to a traffic ticket and said a conviction likely would be punished with a fine.
Perez has six saves this season but is on the disabled list with an injured right shoulder. Francona was asked how his recovery is going.
''You know what? He was at the ballpark - actually, through all this, I forgot to even ask,'' Francona said. ''Through all of this, I didn't even ask, and I need to.''
Perez, an often-polarizing figure, and Cleveland fans have gotten on each other's nerves over the past couple of years. He recently deactivated his Twitter account after criticism from fans following a couple of bad outings.
In previous seasons, Perez has lashed out at fans for not coming to games, and at owners for not spending money on free agents.