Former MLB All-Star pitcher Esteban Loaiza was sentenced to three years in prison Friday for felony drug possession after more than 40 pounds of cocaine were found in his Imperial Beach, California, home.
Loaiza pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession of cocaine with intent of distribution in August 2018.
His sentence of three years in prison and five years on probation was far less than the minimum prison sentence of 10 years he faced but, ahead of the sentencing, his lawyer was confident his penalty would be reduced.
Once released from prison, however, Loaiza will be deported to Mexico, according to the judge.
The baseball star was arrested on Feb. 9, 2018, after San Diego County sheriff’s deputies found a “sophisticated” compartment used to hide contraband in his vehicle.
Later, authorities obtained a search warrant for the home he rented in Imperial Beach, where officials said packages containing a white powder believed to be cocaine were found.
Loaiza was originally charged with possession of more than 20 kilograms (about 44 pounds) along with two counts of transporting and possessing narcotics with the intent to sell — all felonies.
The athlete admitted to transporting the drugs to his home in Imperial Beach and transferring the drugs to another car at the property, and that he intended to transport the cocaine to another person.
Born in Tijuana, Mexico, Loaiza attended Mar Vista High School in Imperial Beach. After his 1995 debut in the major leagues, he went on to pitch for the Pirates, Yankees, Oakland A’s, Dodgers, White Sox and others.
Loaiza was also the husband of Jenni Rivera, the Mexican-American pop star who died along with six others in a 2012 plane crash. The 43-year-old superstar filed for divorce from Loaiza two months before the crash.