Former All Star pitcher pleads guilty to cocaine possession

Rex Christensen
August 11, 2018

"Underneath the baseball bags and the rear floor panels of the Nissan, officers found 20 packages, consistent with the usual appearance of packaged narcotics", according to the criminal complaint.

As we previously reported, the 46-year-old was arrested in San Diego back in February after officials said he was trying to move more than $500,000 in cocaine from a house located near a school.

In a plea deal, lawyers agreed to recommend a sentence of about 30 years, though the maximum penalty for Loaiza's charges is life imprisonment. That is equivalent to 44 pounds.

Loaiza was arrested February 9 in Imperial Beach and charged in Superior Court with possession of more than 40 pounds of cocaine for sale. His sliver Mercedes SUV had just left the garage when authorities confronted him.

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In the plea agreement, Loaiza admitted shifting the cocaine from the Mercedes to the minivan during his brief stop at the residence.

Loaiza's attorney, Janice Deaton, declined to speak with reporters after leaving the courthouse.

Esteban Loaiza was a long-time Major League Baseball pitcher, playing for eight different teams over 13 seasons. He was an All-Star for the Chicago White Sox in 2003 and 2004 and led the AL in strikeouts in 2003.

Born in Tijuana, Loaiza became a celebrity in his native country after marrying the late Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera. The "Diva de la Banda" was considered to be the most successful female singer in grupero, a male-dominated Mexico regional style, selling more than 15 million records and acting in reality television before she was killed in a plane crash in 2012.

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