Soccer and drug trafficking: the case of Jhon Viafara and 5 other players

While some soccer players prefer to retire and take full advantage of the name they created during their career, others instead are influenced by drug trafficking, something that in several football leagues across the continent is common to see.

Transfer of former soccer player, Jhon Viáfara.

Transfer of former soccer player, Jhon Viáfara. / Taken from: Caracol News

LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz

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Leer en español: Fútbol y Narcotráfico: el caso de Jhon Viafara y otros 5 jugadores

The last case where drug trafficking has mixed with soccer is that of former Colombian player Jhon Viáfara. The Supreme Court of Colombia endorsed the extradition of alias “Futbolista” (soccer player), after the Colombian's ties with a drug trafficking network operating throughout the Americas were discovered in 2017. According to El Tiempo, in the United States they link Viáfara with the shipment of at least two and a half tons of coca.

Viáfara, named by Conmebol as the best player in America in 2004, managed to be listed as one of the most important players of the Colombian National Team, in addition to winning, in 2004, the Copa Libertadores with Once Caldas. Viáfara retired from football in 2015 and earlier this year he returned to the spotlight when, when being drunk, he was the protagonist of a serious traffic accident.

The former player was captured in March this year, and after the Court endorsed his extradition, only the signature of President Iván Duque is missing for such a process to take place.

However, the case of Viáfara is not the only one in the world of football. Here we present other players related to the world of drug trafficking.

1. Diego Oscar Osorio

The former Colombian soccer player was sentenced to 5 years in house arrest after being in jail for two years. Osorio stood out for belonging to the Colombian National Team and for playing in Atlético Nacional. However, the former player had already been linked to drug trafficking, because in 2002 he was captured for trying to transport 40 kilos of cocaine to Madrid.

However, the capture for which he was arrested was made in 2016. This time he intended to take a kilo of cocaine, found in his underwear, back to Spain. Osorio retired from football in 1998 and Spain was among his frequent destinations since in that country "he studied several years to become a football coach", according to Semana.

2. Edinho

One of the sons of the Brazilian soccer legend, Pelé, has been seen in several scandals related to drug trafficking and money laundering. The former Santos archer was sentenced in 2014 to 33 years in prison, a sentence that could have been reduced to 12 years. Finally, the former player was released under certain conditions.

According to Esportes7, the former player will have to have a stable job within 30 days, a permanent residence, just as he is prohibited from going to bars and gambling houses and will have to appear in court once a month.

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3. Omar "el gato" Ortiz

This former Mexican footballer had his moment of fame when he arrived at the club Jaguares de Chiapas, the team in which he proved his performance as an archer. He played more than 166 games.

However, his retirement from the football world came in 2010 when he was positive in two doping controls. It was in 2012 when he was arrested for alleged links with the Gulf Cartel where he was accused not only of drug distribution but also of kidnapping. In January 2019, the goalkeeper was sentenced to 75 years in jail.

4. Rafa Marquez

The former Mexican striker who played for several important clubs such as Barcelona and was the captain of the Mexican national team, was linked in 2017 “to drug trafficking by the Treasury Department, for alleged relations with drug lords and the activities of the cartel in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, and Spain”, according to EFE.

Two years after his accusations the NGOs that the former soccer player had in his name had direct consequences since his facilities are abandoned. 'Futbol y Corazon' (soccer and heart) “was pointed out as one of the companies that served to launder money from organized crime and therefore saw direct monetary effects that directly influenced the children it helped,” according to Los Players.

5. José Luis Pérez Caminero

The former Spanish midfielder was sentenced to four years in prison for belonging to a money laundering network, which was obtained by drug trafficking. In 2009, the former director of Atlético de Madrid was also arrested because in his car he had “58,500 euros in 500 bills, from an international drug trafficking network,” according to El Desmarque.

However, accepting the charges reduced the penalty to four months "for undue delay in the case, since the events occurred almost 10 years ago and knowing that Caminero was not supposedly aware of the origin of the origin of the money", explained The Digital Closing.

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