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Old 08-07-2018, 11:42 AM
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Default (Mexican) Ex-Yankees pitcher expected to plead guilty as drug kingpin

https://nypost.com/2018/08/07/ex-yan...-drug-kingpin/

Ex-Yankees pitcher expected to plead guilty as drug kingpin
By Joshua Rhett Miller
August 7, 2018 | 10:16am


Esteban Loaiza
Getty Images; EPA


Former Yankees pitcher Esteban Loaiza is expected to change his plea later this week in a felony cocaine distribution case, according to a report.

Loaiza — who was arrested in February in San Diego after authorities said they found 44 pounds of cocaine in a van parked in the garage of a rented townhouse — has a “change of plea” hearing listed in Southern California US District Court on Friday, WLS-TV reports.

The Tijuana-born Loaiza, 46, initially pleaded not guilty in February. A change of plea hearing results in a defendant submitting a guilty plea in “99 percent” of all criminal cases, according to the station’s legal analyst Gil Soffer, a former federal prosecutor.

Loaiza’s attorney, Janice Deaton, and a spokesperson for the US attorney in San Diego both declined to comment Monday on the report.

Federal investigators have said they believe Loaiza used the rented townhome as an intermediate destination for cocaine. Prior to his arrest, during which Loaiza was pulled over for a traffic violation and cops found a sophisticated compartment to hide contraband in his Mercedes-Benz, the former MLB star had crossed the Mexican border earlier that day, prosecutors said.

Authorities later obtained a search warrant for Loaiza’s rented home in Imperial Beach, where investigators said they found 44 pounds of cocaine stored less than 1,000 feet from an elementary school.

Loaiza, who posted bail in May, faces a mandatory 10-year minimum sentence and up to life in prison if convicted, according to the station.

Loaiza pitched for nine teams throughout his 14-season career, including the Yankees, Dodgers, White Sox and Pirates. He retired in 2008 with a 126-114 record and a 4.65 career ERA. He was a two-time All-Star and the second-winningest Mexican pitcher in MLB history, second only to Fernando Valenzuela. In 2003, he finished second in the American League Cy Young voting and started the All-Star Game.

Loaiza, who earned more than $43 million as a pro, is also known for appearing on the reality show “I Love Jenni,” featuring him and his wife, Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera. They were in the process of ending their two-year marriage before Rivera died in a plane crash in 2012.
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