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Esteban Loaiza sentenced to three years in prison on drug charges

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A little over a year ago former big league pitcher Esteban Loaiza was arrested in San Diego and charged with transporting roughly 44 pounds of heroin and cocaine. That, you may or may not know, is against the law.

His arrest occurred, San Diego’s CBS8.com reports, after police — likely acting on a tip, but it’s unclear — trailed him in a Mercedes SUV to a house in Imperial Beach, California, near the Mexico border. There he moved the twenty packages of drugs to a minivan parked in the garage and left. He was pulled over and police dogs detected traces of drugs in the SUV. They then got a warrant, went back to the house and found the drugs in a hidden compartment in the van. The house, for what it’s worth, was basically empty and was referred to by prosecutors as a stash house.

Last summer Loaiza pleaded guilty in federal court. Yesterday he was sentenced to three years in prison. As part of his plea he admitted that he planned to distribute the stuff. Which, well, yeah. Loaiza in court:

“I would like to apologize to my family and my fans, both in the United States and Mexico. I swear I’m not going to do this kind of thing again. I’m not this type of person.”

Not anymore at least. Loaiza, born in Mexico, will likely be deported after his sentence.

Loaiza pitched for eight different teams in his career, spending four years with the Pirates and three years each with the White Sox, Rangers and Blue Jays. He spent two years in L.A. and Oakland — where he was arrested for a DUI in 2006 — and a year each with the Yankees and Nationals. His best season came in 2003 when he went 21-9 with a 2.90 ERA for the White Sox, finishing second in the Cy Young balloting. For his career he was 126-114 with a 4.65 ERA in 377 games, starting 333 of them.

After his playing career he was married to the Mexican singer Jenni Rivera, but she filed for divorce, alleging financial impropriety on Loaiza’s part. She would die in a plane crash before any of that would be resolved. Which is to say, this was not Loazia’s first experience with controversy and trouble.

In other news, the prison baseball team is about to improve tremendously.

Octavio Dotel, Luis Castillo arrested in drug, money laundering investigation

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Five years ago, Octavio Dotel retired following a 15-year career in which he pitched for a then-record 13 different teams. I’m not exactly sure what he’s been up to since then, but I know that today he got arrested, as did former Marlins, Twins and Mets second baseman Luis Castillo.

That’s the report from Héctor Gómez, and from the Dominican Today, each of whom report that the two ex-big leaguers were arrested today in connection with a longstanding money laundering and/or drug investigation focused on one César Peralta. also known as “César the Abuser.” So he sounds fun. Gómez characterizes it as a money laundering thing. Reporter Dionisio Soldevila characterizes it as “drug trafficking charges.” Such charges often go hand-in-hand, of course. I’m sure more details will be come out eventually. For now we have the report of their arrests. According to the Dominican Today, four cars belonging to Dotel were confiscated as well.

Dotel didn’t debut until he was 25, and for his first couple of years with the Mets and Astros he struggled to establish himself as a starter. He was switched full-time to the Houston bullpen at 27, however, and went on to make 724 relief appearances with a 3.32 ERA and a .207 opponents’ batting average while racking up 955 strikeouts in 760 innings. At the time of his retirement his career strikeout rate — 10.8 per nine innings — was the best in the history of baseball for right-handed pitchers with at least 900 innings, edging out Kerry Wood and Pedro Martinez.

Castillo also played 15 seasons, with a career line of .290/.368/.351. He was a three-time All Star and won three Gold Glove awards.