Former MLB All-Star Pitcher Esteban Loaiza sentenced to three years for cocaine trafficking
SAN DIEGO – Former Major League Baseball All-Star pitcher Esteban Loaiza was sentenced in federal court on March 8, 2019 to 36 months in prison for knowingly and intentionally possessing 20 kilograms - about 44 pounds - of cocaine with intent to distribute.
“Mr. Loaiza lived every young boy’s dream as an All-Star baseball player. And yet, he chose to be a drug dealer,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Karen Flowers. “He chose to break the law for profit. He chose to make a buck off someone’s addiction. Today, society chose to hold him accountable and took away his freedom.”
In his plea agreement, Loaiza admitted that he took possession of a silver Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle on February 9, 2018 that he knew contained cocaine. He drove the SUV to a townhouse he had rented in Imperial Beach, where he transferred the 20 kilograms to another vehicle in the garage. He admitted he did so with the intent to distribute the cocaine to another person.
According to the government’s sentencing memorandum, Loaiza’s rented townhouse was a “stash house” used to distribute cocaine and lacked furniture or personal belongings. Law enforcement located the cocaine concealed within a factory-built compartment in the rear cargo area of a minivan parked in the garage under baseball bags bearing Loaiza’s name. The packages of cocaine are depicted in the attached photos from the government’s sentencing papers.
In court, the Assistant U.S. Attorney highlighted aggravating factors that he said make this crime more troubling, including the significant quantity of cocaine, Loaiza’s active and involved participation in the criminal venture, and his privileged background. After handing down the sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Janis L. Sammartino acknowledged the defendant’s history as a baseball star. “The story changes,” she told him. “It’s not just a success story…But it’s still something people can learn from.”