Two-time All-Star and former Chicago White Sox pitcher Esteban Loaiza is expected to plead guilty Friday in a federal cocaine distribution case, the ABC7 I-Team has learned.
The ex-Chicago baseball star had pleaded not guilty earlier this year in Southern California U.S. District Court to a charge of possession with intent to distribute 44 pounds of cocaine.
Loaiza, 46, has a “Change of Plea” hearing on the court’s docket at 1 p.m. CDT Friday. A change of plea is a guilty plea in “99% of cases,” said former federal prosecutor Gil Soffer, ABC7’s legal analyst. It is referred to as a change of plea because the defendant originally pleaded not guilty.
Loaiza was arrested February 9 after authorities said they found cocaine inside a minivan parked in the garage of a townhouse he had rented near San Diego.
Loaiza was born in Tijuana, Mexico. In addition to pitching for the White Sox he played with the Pirates, Yankees, Oakland A’s and the Dodgers. Loaiza was once married to Jenni Rivera, a Mexican-American pop singing star who was killed in a plane crash in 2012 along with six other people. Two months before the crash, the 43 year old singer had filed for divorce from Loaiza.