Colombia soccer star extradited to US on trafficking charges

Sports

FILE – In this Feb. 24, 2011 file photo, Jhon Viafara of Colombia’s Junior de Barranquilla celebrates after scoring against Brazil’s Gremio during a Copa Libertadores soccer match in Barranquilla, Colombia. The former midfielder for Colombia’s national soccer team was extradited on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020 to the U.S. to face drug trafficking charges. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara, File)

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A former midfielder for Colombia’s national soccer team was extradited on Thursday to the United States to face drug trafficking charges.

Prosecutors in Texas accuse Jhon Viafara of conspiring with members of the Gulf Cartel to organize cocaine shipments that left Colombia on speedboats. They have been investigating the former soccer player for three years.

Viafara, 41, was arrested last year on a U.S. drug warrant and says he is innocent. Images supplied by Colombian police show officers fingerprinting him at Bogota’s international airport and escorting him to a small jet headed for Texas.

The former Colombia international played for ten clubs during his career including Premier League sides Portsmouth and Southampton. In 2004, he helped Colombian team Once Caldas win the Libertadores Cup, South America’s top club competition.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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