Ex-Premier League star Jhon Viafara sent to prison for 11 years for cocaine smuggling
Prosecutors accused Viafara of conspiring with members of the Gulf Cartel to arrange the cocaine shipments
Former Portsmouth and Southampton midfielder Jhon Viafara will face 11 years in prison for smuggling cocaine into the United States.
Viafara, who spent time with the two south coast clubs in the mid 2000s, was sent to jail by a federal court in Texas after being extradited to the US in January of last year.
Last November the 42-year-old pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import 5kg or more of the drug into the States from Colombia via Mexico in an operation which used speed boats and small aeroplanes.
Prosecutors accused Viafara of conspiring with members of the Gulf Cartel to arrange the cocaine shipments. He had been under investigation by the authorities for three years.
"The defendant in this case had it all, worldwide fame, wealth, and stature - despite all of this, he chose to use his talents to advance the evil of the drug trade,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas Ganjei.
"Traffickers should take note, no matter who you are; no matter where in the world you live; the United States will prosecute you if you join in a conspiracy to send drugs to our country."
Viafara started his career in Colombia, who he would go on to represent at senior level. After spells with Deportivo Pasto, American de Cali and Once Caldas, he moved to Portsmouth, who were then a Premier League side, in 2005.
After a brief loan spell with Real Sociedad, he moved to Southampton, where he made over 70 appearances between 2006 and 2008 before being exported back to his homeland.