On April 19, former MLB All-Star player Esteban Loaiza began serving a prison sentence in California for felony drug possession. A federal judge in San Diego sentenced the 47-year-old pitcher to three years in prison and five years probation on March 8. He was facing up to 10 years in prison.

In February 2018, Loaiza was taken into custody when deputies from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office found cocaine hidden in a specially-designed storage compartment in his minivan. Authorities later executed a search warrant at his rented apartment in Imperial Beach and found multiple packages of cocaine. According to federal documents, the apartment contained no furniture and was maintained for the purpose of storing drugs intended for distribution.

Initially, prosecutors charged Loaiza with felony possession of more than 20 kilograms of cocaine, transporting narcotics with the intent to sell and possessing narcotics with the intent to sell. However, as part of a plea deal, he pleaded guilty to a single felony count of cocaine possession with the intent to distribute. After he serves his prison sentence, he will be deported to Mexico. Loaiza played for several baseball teams during his 13-year MLB career, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Chicago White Sox, the Oakland A’s and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Defendants charged with drug crimes can face harsh consequences if they are convicted, including decades in prison, heavy fines and the confiscation of personal property. However, a criminal defense attorney could protect a defendant’s rights and work to mitigate the charges through a variety of defense strategies. For example, by negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors, it may be possible to get the charges significantly reduced, which could lead to a lighter sentence.

Source: NBC Los Angeles, “Ex-All Star Pitcher Esteban Loaiza Sentenced in Drug Case,” April 19, 2019