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Ex-coach convicted of having cocaine gets probation

The jury that convicted a former high-school baseball coach of having cocaine sentenced him to five years of probation.

Mike Beltran, an El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame baseball player and high school coach, was convicted Wednesday of a third degree felony possession of cocaine charge and faced up to 10 years in prison.

On Thursday, he was sentenced to five years probation, 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay $1,000 fine. If Beltran fulfills his probation, he won’t have to pay the fine.

Beltran, 65, bought cocaine from a confidential informant in a DEA sting operation in the parking lot of an East El Paso Target in 2012.

He took the stand in his own defense Wednesday, and denied ever buying the drug.

Last Thursday, the defense asked for a mistrial based on what was called an improper charge. Defense attorney Daniel Mena argued that Beltran was charged with possession of more than 4 grams of cocaine, punishable by two to 20 years in prison. However, Beltran was allegedly caught with just under 2 grams, according to testimony.

Prosecutors argued that under case law it is allowed to reduce the charge to less than 4 grams if needed. Judge Diane Navarette ultimately denied the request for a mistrial.

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