REPORT: Former baseball star expected to plead guilty as drug kingpin
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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.
The article goes on to state the following:
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.
From two-time All-Star pitcher to drug felon. Ex-@whitesox star Esteban Loaiza expected to plead guilty Friday to federal cocaine distribution charge. Exclusive from @ABC7Chicago #ITeam https://t.co/njRe7oBYwe pic.twitter.com/rPx5wjP9fk
— ChuckGoudie (@ChuckGoudieABC7) August 6, 2018
Esteban Loaiza was charged with possession and transportation for sale of more than 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of cocaine https://t.co/UTU6K2aVzM
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 7, 2018
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